A Decade on the Rise at UK HealthCare

In the past decade, UK HealthCare has elevated its status to a nationally recognized academic medical center serving the state of Kentucky and beyond. During this period of guided growth, UK HealthCare expanded its facilities, added thousands of jobs, developed advanced specializations in clinical care, built a robust regional referral network and created new opportunities in research and education. UK HealthCare is poised to continue on a path of growth and achievement as it annually rises in national rankings.

Over the last decade the national health care industry has undergone significant change. To help guide our path, UK recruited Dr. Michael Karpf to set a strategic agenda and position UK HealthCare as a top tier academic medical center. Since then, UK HealthCare has exceeded goals outlined in its original 2004-2020 strategic plan, which included developing subspecialties to draw more complex cases from the regional market and establishing itself as a regional destination for complex clinical care.

Today, our statewide presence reaches Kentuckians in 120 counties, and UK HealthCare recorded a notable 40 percent increase in patients traveling from outside the Bluegrass Region for inpatient care in 2009. As a result, inpatient admittance rose from 19,098 to 35,511 - an 86 percent increase since 2003.

Based on annual discharged patients, a benchmark for growth used by academic medical centers, UK HealthCare climbed from the 85th percentile to the 35th percentile in the nation during the course of 10 years. The growth has tripled clinical revenue from $343 million to more than $946 million.

With an emphasis on education and research as an integral part of our mission as an academic medical center, UK has earned the triple crown of federal research awards, including the Clinical Translational Science Award, the Alzheimer’s Disease Research center and National Cancer Institute designation. Because of the talent and expertise of our researchers and clinicians, UK is among 22 universities in the nation with these federal awards.

The extraordinary growth at UK HealthCare has yielded an impressive physical transformation. In 2011, the new Pavilion A of the Chandler Medical Center opened. This first phase of a long-term renovation process included the addition of 30,000 square-foot atrium, bed tower including 128 beds dedicated to neuroscience and advanced technologies that will enable the medical staff to provide the highest standard of care for years to come. The ongoing $1.4 billion facility expansion will eventually lead to new facilities for the Kentucky Clinic and Kentucky Children's Hospital. In addition to expansions, UK HealthCare acquired the Good Samaritan Hospital in 2007 and announced plans to consolidate off-site offices in a new facility off Harrodsburg Road in 2014.

Progress over the last decade brought jobs and substantial economic activity to the Bluegrass Region. The UK health enterprise created 3,566 new jobs from 2004 to 2012, with 2,982 added to UK HealthCare and 584 positions with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. The Medical School's full-time faculty has grown from 443 to 625 during this time.

In total, UK HealthCare now operates more than 80 specialized clinics, 143 outreach programs and a team of 9,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists and health care workers dedicated to patient health. The faculty forms the state’s largest multidisciplinary group practice, a structure that enables physicians of UK HealthCare to collaborate in multidisciplinary teams to deliver the best possible patient outcomes in complex medical cases.

As a result of a commitment to upholding high standards of excellence and expansions of services, UK HealthCare has received prestigious designations and awards from national health care organizations. For the past 10 years, UK HealthCare doctors have consistently appeared in an annual list of top doctors in America. In 2011, the Gill Heart Cardiac Rehabilitation program was accredited by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

In 2013, UK HealthCare was distinguished as a Top Performer by the Joint Commission, the largest medical accreditation body in the nation, and won a Rising Star Award from the University Health System Consortium.

UK HealthCare has identified new goals to affirm its place as the sophisticated location for clinical care in Kentucky. According to Executive Vice President of Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf, the next step will be to acquire the status of federal "Center for Excellence," a designation reserved for hospitals that deliver complex services such as heart, liver, kidney and lung transplants. To reach this goal, UK HealthCare must push ahead, attracting more patients locally, tapping into new markets in the eastern part of the state and strengthening its reputation as the best destination for first-rate care in Kentucky.