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Kosair Children's Hospital to be renamed Norton Children's Hospital

Published: Sep. 28, 2016 at 2:04 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2016 at 3:41 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Norton Healthcare announced Wednesday that the downtown children's hospital it has owned and operated for nearly 50 years will be renamed Norton Children's Hospital on Nov. 10.

The hospital has been known as Kosair Children's Hospital since 1981 when a naming agreement was reached between the hospital and Kosair Charities. The hospital previously was known as Norton-Children's Hospital from 1967 to 1981.

Following a prolonged dispute and litigation, Norton Healthcare and Kosair Charities settled a disagreement in late June 2016 in part by ending the naming rights agreement. That meant the name Kosair would be removed from all Norton-owned facilities and medical practices. Therefore, the names of other Norton Healthcare entities serving children will change in November. They include Norton Women's and Children's Hospital in St. Matthews, Norton Children's Medical Center and Norton Children's Medical Associates.

"Our name may be changing, but the same caregivers and caring our patients and families have come to know and expect are still here, and will be for many years to come," Thomas D. Kmetz, division president of women's and children's services said. "Years ago, the hospital was known as Norton-Children's Hospital, and we were pleased to learn through our research that that name still resonates with the community."

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The Norton Healthcare Board of Trustees selected the name Norton Children's Hospital after several rounds of research involving the local community and surrounding areas, as well as Norton Healthcare employees.

"Children are first in what we do, and the research affirmed that Norton is a trusted, respected name in healthcare," Kmetz said. "Since the children's hospital has been part of the Norton organization for nearly 50 years, it made sense for it to bear that name."

According to a news release from Norton Healthcare, when it was founded in 1890 by a group of women from Warren Memorial Presbyterian Church, Children's Free Hospital was only the 10th children's hospital in the country, and the first in the south. When the hospital officially opened its doors in 1892, it was a place where children could have safe surgery and a clean place to recover. With its faith-based founding, staff treated all children who needed medical care, while also working to improve the health conditions outside of the hospital.

In 1946, it became Children's Hospital. While removing the word "free" from the name, the board remained true to the founding of the organization in that no child was ever turned away for lack of funds. Just 21 years later in 1967, Children's Hospital began discussing consolidation with Norton Memorial Infirmary to create a new organization named Norton-Children's Hospitals Inc.

"We thank Kosair Charities and its members for their support and dedication to the Commonwealth's children," Kmetz said. "Both organizations remain committed to meeting children's health care needs.  We will now pursue that focus independently."

The hospital will keep its iconic balloon and "Just For Kids" logo.

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