SNMH adopts Dignity Health brand |

SNMH adopts Dignity Health brand

Gary Cooke
Special to The Union

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) has a 55-year history as a community-based, locally run organization, and that's not changing, according to Debbie Plass, vice president for marketing and business development.

"We are a community hospital that is affiliated, not owned, by Dignity Health. The hospital purchases services from Dignity Health that are necessary to hospital operations," Plass said.

But it's more than that, and new signs going up reflect that it is also part of Dignity Health, the fifth largest hospital provider group in the nation. Last year SNMH replaced its former logo with the new symbol of Dignity Health, and now the hospital will be known as Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

"This was a decision embraced by our local board of directors," Plass said. "It's not really a name change. It's a recognition that we are part of something bigger, and that our community benefits from this connection, and all the human and technological resources this large system offers."

Plass continued: "This primary brand of Dignity Health makes the identification and connection to a larger system of services even stronger for doctors, employees, volunteers, patients, and the community."

The importance of being part of a well-known and highly regarded system is illustrated by health care organizations like the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, Plass said.

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"People have learned to associate those names with the highest quality of care and services. We need look no farther than the Mercy Heart & Vascular Center in Sacramento to find the very best standards of cardiac care, and that's just one example of the kinds of services provided by Dignity Health facilities across its 17-state breadth."

Plass said she believes that adoption of the Dignity Health logo and name will lead to "an expansion of services and closer connection to the vast expertise of the Sacramento region's eight Dignity Health hospitals, clinics and institutes."

In addition, she said hospital employees, along with the community, will enjoy a sense of pride in belonging to a highly regarded system that has moved to a national identity.

She emphasized that SNMH will continue to have its own board of directors and function as an affiliate of the Dignity Health system. All funds raised by the SNMH Foundation will continue to be used for the benefit of the local hospital, Plass said.

"All philanthropic dollars raised by the SNMH Foundation will stay in this community," she stated. "None of the funds raised here are sent to Dignity Health."

SNMH opened its doors as a small, community hospital in 1958, and has continued to grow with the Nevada City/Grass Valley population. In 1996, following a successful community vote, it chose to affiliate with what was then Catholic Healthcare West a system made up of Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals.

In early 2012, CHW changed its name to Dignity Health.

"They chose that name to align organizational identification more closely with patient-centered values," Plass explained. "The value of dignity is one of the core tenants of their belief in the inherent worth of each person, and honoring the historic Catholic tradition of bringing excellent care to all levels of society while advocating and partnering with others to improve the quality of life for all."

Dignity Health explains its logo as representing the continuum of caregivers, services, and facilities, while keeping focus on its mission of healing, advocacy, and partnering.

"The icon surrounds a central space, symbolizing how an integrated health system honors the inherent dignity of each individual," the system's web site explained.

The name change also positioned Dignity Health for growth, Plass said.

"By changing from Catholic Healthcare West to Dignity Health (named after one of our common five core values), they are more inclusive of all healthcare providers, enabling them to grow into a true, national system that will welcome both religious affiliated and non-religious hospitals and outpatient healthcare entities, while respecting each hospital's individual identity," she explained.

"We continue to deliver excellent care that our community has counted on for 55 years," she said. "And now our community is even more closely connected with a system that boasts some of the best health care services in the nation."

For more information, visit, or contact Debbie Plass at 530-274-6110 or by email at

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.

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