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For 27 years, the name Centura Health has stood atop hospitals in Colorado, one of the largest systems in one of the nation’s most competitive health care markets.

It’s been around longer than Empower Field at Mile High, longer than Ball Arena — and not just those names, but the actual buildings, too. It is older than Google, Facebook and the iPhone. The Centura brand name lifted off only a year after Denver International Airport did.

And it will disappear in the coming months.

A news release earlier this month announced that the Centura name, logo and brand “will be retired over the next year.” The reason for its demise is due to the divorce of the two separate health systems whose partnership created the Centura joint venture in the first place — CommonSpirit Health and AdventHealth.

Under the Centura brand, the two systems had managed 25 hospitals. Now that they are splitting apart, the systems will each go back to managing just the hospitals they own — 20 hospitals in Colorado, Kansas and Utah for CommonSpirit and five hospitals in Colorado for AdventHealth.

“During the disaffiliation process, CommonSpirit Health and AdventHealth agreed the Centura Health name, logo and brand would be retired over the next year,” Lindsay Radford, a spokeswoman for CommonSpirit, wrote in an email to The Sun. “As such, both health care systems will introduce their brands at the care sites they now directly manage.”

Both systems say the name switches will not affect patient care and that patients should notice very little change.

A screenshot of a website set up by AdventHealth announcing that the system’s five Denver metro area hospitals will soon carry the AdventHealth name instead of the Centura name. (John Ingold, The Colorado Sun)

A curious retirement

What would become of the Centura name as a result of the divorce had been an ongoing mystery. For months after they announced their split, neither CommonSpirit nor AdventHealth would comment on the name.

In June, AdventHealth began running ads announcing that its hospitals “will soon be part of the AdventHealth network of care.” But, meanwhile, CommonSpirit kept making moves under the Centura banner.

It announced a new group president for some of its Colorado hospitals — in a news release it posted on Centura’s website. It bought five hospitals in Utah and said those hospitals would be managed by Centura.

Most surprisingly, it scooped health giant UCHealth to snag the naming rights as the official health care partner for the Denver Broncos. It even slapped the Centura name on the team’s training facility.

All of this happened after it was announced that Centura would be going kaput.

Radford, the CommonSpirit spokeswoman, said CommonSpirit will take over the Broncos naming rights deal next year.

“With the 2023-2024 season already underway, fans will continue to see the Centura Health name and brand,” she wrote in an email. “At the end of the season, we will work with the Broncos to transition to CommonSpirit.”

Mercy Hospital in Durango, a Catholic hospital and part of the Centura Health system. (Josh Stephenson, Special to The Colorado Sun)

But at what cost?

Far from being an outlier, the vanishing Centura name fits in perfectly with a hospital industry experiencing a golden age of rebranding.

According to one industry publication, dozens of hospitals and health systems across the country have rebranded in recent years. Some of these have been simple logo changes. Some have been tweaks to remove the word “hospital” or something similar from the name and emphasize health care that extends beyond the hospital walls — such as, for instance, when the Vail Valley Medical Center changed its name in 2017 to Vail Health.

Earlier this year, Intermountain Healthcare — which operates five hospitals in Colorado following its merger last year with SCL Health — announced that it would henceforth be known as Intermountain Health.

But these rebrands are sometimes costly endeavors. There are signs, advertising, documentation and all manner of items with the health system’s brand on them. When Boston-based Partners HealthCare changed its name in 2019 to Mass General Brigham, the rebranding was estimated to cost upwards of $100 million.

It’s unclear what AdventHealth and CommonSpirit health will spend on rebranding, though. Spokespeople for both organizations did not respond to a request for comment on the figure.

John Ingold is a co-founder of The Colorado Sun and a reporter currently specializing in health care coverage. Born and raised in Colorado Springs, John spent 18 years working at The Denver Post. Prior to that, he held internships at...