Kootenai Medical Center has a new name — Kootenai Health — but that's not all. 

"Fundamentally we're working toward a new vision to become more comprehensive," Kootenai Health CEO Jon Ness says.

Kootenai replaced the name to symbolize health services reaching out and working together with both strength and flexibility, according to Ness. It's all part of the organization's long-term goal to make Kootenai Health the Panhandle region's premier health center by 2020.

The move to broaden services is already well underway. In 2012, Kootenai Health added a special care nursery for premature babies, opened an electrophysiology lab for heart rhythm treatment and obtained a second linear accelerator, a piece of equipment used to find and treat cancer. Since January 2011, 650 new employee positions have been added.

Kootenai Health is also preparing to launch its family medicine residency program in 2014, which will train 18 medical residents, and to begin construction on expansions to the big blue hospital in Coeur d'Alene, slated to start in spring 2014.

"We have some real growth needs in our emergency department," Ness says. "We'll have expansions in our labor and delivery units, in our main operating room, in critical care and in behavioral health."

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