Welia

After encountering a trademark conflict with FirstLight Home Care, an in-home care agency based in Cincinnati, Ohio, FirstLight Health System has chosen a new name: Welia Health. 

The new name coincides with the completion of a major campus renovation in Mora, including updates to the birthing center, adult and child physical therapy, emergency department relocation, new inpatient area and the remodeling of surgery, imaging and infusion areas.

“The staff could not be happier,” said Randy Ulseth, CEO of Welia Health in a press release. “The name helps us communicate who we are, but also the direction we are moving in healthcare.” 

The name was chosen by a team of board members, physicians, staff and community leaders using an extensive naming process. According to a press release, the name “Welia Health” was selected for many reasons. Welia Health includes ideas like welcome and wellness and well-being. With its simple construction, Welia Health is approachable and easy to say. 

In Gaelic (the source language for Irish and Scottish), Welia means “to see”—which is ideal for healthcare. Ulseth also commented, he also sought out a short, clear and contemporary word that could signal the organization’s ability to provide innovative care and lead change.

“There is so much meaning packed into the five letters of our new name, it really becomes a coat hook,” says Randy. “We have an amazing place to hang the staff’s experience, compassion, knowledge and welcome that defines what they do every single day for every single patient. The hospital and clinics have a stellar record of care and caring—and we are continually raising the bar —so our new shorthand for what we can call these good things is Welia Health.”

For more details about Welia Health and the new name, follow Welia Health on Facebook or go to WeliaHealth.org/Welcome.

Change

The reason for the name change came about last winter as  FirstLight Home Care contacted FirstLight Health System with a request to consider re-branding. 

FirstLight Home Care franchised and is expanding across the country. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it received the national trademark for “FirstLight Home Care” in April, 2011 and filed for the trademark for “FirstLight Healthcare Solutions” in November, 2018.

FirstLight Health System, formerly Kanabec Hospital, began using the name “FirstLight” on March 1, 2011 along with its clinics in Hinckley and Pine City. 

Ulseth said the reason for changing the hospital and clinics’ name is as much of a legal battle as a public relations one. Ulseth cited potential confusion between the organizations, and wanted the hospital’s reputation to stand on its own. 

Ulseth said the homecare company never made a cease and desist order, but had contacted the hospital and asked them to consider re-branding. 

According to Ulseth, the hospital board negotiated with the homecare company and evaluated their options until the board decided the potential confusion for their patients would be too much of a  disadvantage to continue to use the “FirstLight” moniker.

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