Starting immediately, Cushing Memorial Hospital in Leavenworth will be known as Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital, hospital officials said Tuesday.

Starting immediately, Cushing Memorial Hospital in Leavenworth will be known as Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital, hospital officials said Tuesday.

The name change was approved during the June meeting of the Saint Luke's Health System Board, according to Adele Ducharme, the chief executive officer of Saint Luke's Cushing. Announced to employees July 1, she said the change accompanies the public announcement of a five-year, $20 million reinvestment in the hospital that was founded here in 1894.

“It started out with a meeting we had with community stakeholders,” Ducharme said of the name change, a process that began about six months ago.

She said there appeared to be an unawareness in the public of Cushing's alignment with Saint Luke's, a system which owns not-for-profit hospitals throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. Other community groups seemed supportive of making the connection more concrete. Ducharme, however, said it was also crucial to continue recognizing the roots of the facility.

“We know that Harriet Cushing and her history here is something important that we should honor,” she said.

The multi-million reinvestment plan for the hospital, however, has been in the works for much longer, with the system board approving the plan in December 2012. Over the course of five years, she said the system plans to make about $20 million worth of improvements and expansions to the current Cushing campus, located at 711 Marshall St. in Leavenworth.

“It's a very exciting time because it is an opportunity to look at what we're doing and decide where we want to go with our services,” she said.

Some of the changes that arose from that process are already being made. Ducharme said the decision by Saint John Hospital last year to discontinue birth services necessitated Saint Luke's expand Cushing's maternity ward from five to eight beds ahead of schedule. That expansion is nearly complete, she said. The facility is also scheduled for some less high-profile infrastructure work later this year ― new HVAC units, electrical and parking lot improvements.

As soon as 2014, Ducharme said, Cushing could be seeing some major changes. First will be remodeling the hospital's second floor, then moving the intensive care unit to that floor and making room for an expansion of the facility's emergency room. Improvements to the Cushing Medical Plaza building will expand outpatient capacity, an “extensive” renovation to the medical-surgery unit that will result in private rooms and bathrooms for each patient and a”general update” to the hospital, including in patient areas.

From the name change to the announcement of the improvement efforts, Ducharme said those inside of hospital operations seem to support the changes.

“It was all very positive. I brought the employees together on the (July 1) and they literally applauded because they were so happy,” she said, to see the hospital embrace its connection with Saint Luke's. “When you come to Cushing, you get the same quality of services that you get up north, on the Plaza. This is a way that we can make that connection stronger for the public.”