Dr. Penny Beach Helps Lead Rebrand of FMRI Clinics

by Steven Reames 

Dr. Penny BeachWhen the Family Medicine Health Center (FMHC) board decided it need to rebrand its clinic name, Dr. Penny Beach wasn’t so sure, “I was a late convert to the process because it is so time-consuming and expensive.” But she also knew that the small health system of eight clinics operated by the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho (FMRI) had a bit of an identity crisis. “People would just call us 'Family Medicine,' whether they were referring to the clinics or to the residency. And it just did not stand out as anything special.”

But what FMRI has done with FMHC since it started in the mid-1970s is something special. “We see more than 110,000 patients a year from birth to palliative and hospice care,” said Dr. Beach. FMRI is one of the original 11 Teaching Health Centers in the nation, a combination of being a Federally Qualified Health Center and a residency program. “A lot of people viewed us as training center for Idaho’s next generation of family physicians with a few patients. What they couldn't see sometimes with our old name is that we are actually one of the state’s largest Medicaid providers and there is a lot more going on clinically than one might suppose.”

Full Circle Health Logo

This month FMHC officially becomes Full Circle Health, emphasizing the range of care it provides, from OB, to pediatrics, to family medicine, to geriatric and palliative care. They have multiple specialty clinics including HIV, viral hepatitis, endoscopy, and transgender care. Behavioral health is fully integrated in the clinics. They are a recognized NCQA Patient Center Medical Home, which is fitting because of the strong role that FMRI’s CEO Dr. Ted Epperly played in shaping the PCMH model over the past 10-15 years.

The process of rebranding, as Dr. Beach imagined it would be, was hard work. “I was kind of surprised how one of the first things we have to start with is ‘Can we trademark this?’” she reflected. “Our consultants – which, by the way, were well worth the money – were pushing made-up names on us, but we really wanted something that sounded normal without being so generic.”

After seven years, Dr. Beach is stepping aside from the Chief Medical Officer role to assume director of population health. “We’re a small health system, really, and we’re growing with another clinic coming online this fall and more planned in the future.” She continues to see a patient panel at the Meridian clinic, where she helps family medicine residents grow in their skills. It's a job she loves and intends to continue with for years to come.

FMRI Leadership

Dr. Penny Beach (at laptop) during her tenure as CMO of Full Circle Health (formerly Family Medicine Health Clinics)