What's in a name? Recognition: Keeping its moniker was important for Howard County General Hospital.


ONE FEAR expressed when Howard County General Hospital agreed three months ago to a merger with Johns Hopkins Medicine was that it would be consumed by the behemoth and lose its local character. In announcing the completion of the deal last week, the principals sought to erase that concern by announcing that the name of the hospital won't change. Howard General will remain Howard General, but the Johns Hopkins logo will be added to its stationery and signs.

That little concession can go a long way toward smoothing the transition into "a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine." But it's not the only thing being done to accomplish that. Hopkins has agreed that the hospital board must be made up of two-thirds Howard County residents not affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Furthermore, Howard General board officers Alton J. Scavo and Beverly M. Wilhide will serve on the Hopkins board executive committee, and Howard General staff President Steven A. Geller has been named to the board of the Johns Hopkins Health Systems Corp.

Next year, the county can look forward to establishment of a Howard County Community Health Foundation, which is being created as part of the merger.

The foundation will receive about $40 million to dispense as grants to local organizations that promote and enhance the health and wellness of county residents.

The foundation will be wholly independent of Johns Hopkins and Howard General. Former Rouse Co. executive Richard G. McCauley has been named chairman of its board.

The merger with Johns Hopkins reunites Howard General with one of its first partners. The hospital began 25 years ago as a clinic operated by Hopkins and Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. The mission of the 233-bed facility has broadened considerably since that time. Its new association with Hopkins should put it in a better position to serve all the medical needs of Howard County's rapidly growing population.

Pub Date: 7/10/98

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