UK HealthCare

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Thanks to a decade of unprecedented growth, UK HealthCare’s status has vaulted to national recognition among academic medical centers.

Guided by a broad-ranging strategic plan, UK HealthCare has expanded to serve patients with the most complex medical needs from Kentucky and beyond and is well on its way to becoming one of the premier academic medical centers in the United States.

Between fiscal years 2004 and 2014, we increased patient volume nearly twofold, renovated and built new facilities, doubled our employee count, developed advanced specializations in clinical care, established a robust regional referral network and created new opportunities in research and education.

Along the way – and thanks to focused efforts in quality, efficiency and patient-centered care – UK HealthCare and its constituent organizations earned multiple prestigious designations and marked significant improvements in industry-standard rankings.

“These advancements didn’t happen independently,” said Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “All of this is born of careful planning and serves to further establish UK HealthCare as the research-intensive referral academic medical center we had envisioned.”

Recruited to UK HealthCare in 2003, Karpf worked with University of Kentucky leaders and the Board of Trustees to design and institute a UK HealthCare strategic plan. With many of the original goals met or exceeded in the initial 10 years, leaders in 2015 unveiled a new, even more ambitious plan to continue UK HealthCare’s trajectory in the coming five years.

Today, UK HealthCare draws the most acutely ill patients needing advanced subspecialty care from across Kentucky and beyond. At the same time, our rapidly growing outreach network supports services at many of Kentucky’s hospitals, helping keep patients close to their homes for both routine and specialty care, as well as many subspecialty procedures. As a result, UK HealthCare’s patient volume, a benchmark used by academic medical centers, climbed from the 25th percentile to greater than the 75th percentile in the nation during the decade.

Inpatient discharges jumped from 19,664 in fiscal year 2004 to more than 36,000 in 2015. As planned, the overall complexity of patient cases also increased. UK HealthCare is now reaching – and caring for – those patients in Kentucky and its bordering counties most in need of advanced care.

Our stable financial footing continues to underwrite an impressive physical transformation of our Lexington campus and beyond:

  • Pavilion A of Albert B. Chandler Hospital opened in 2011 with two complete patient floors, adult and pediatric emergency departments and a 30,000-square-foot atrium
  • The 8th floor opened for cardiology patients in 2014
  • Final work on the 9th and 10th floors began in 2015, adding 128 beds dedicated to neurology and advanced technologies
  • In March 2015, the UK Board of Trustees approved completion work for the 11th floor, which will mean 64 patient beds
  • UK HealthCare at Turfland, an outpatient services center conveniently located on Harrodsburg Road in Lexington, opened in March 2015
  • In early 2015, officials broke ground on a new Shriners Hospital for Children, a $47 million, five-story building on the UK campus. The project, scheduled for completion in 2017, deepens our longstanding relationship with Shriners
  • A new six-story research building planned near South Limestone and Virginia Avenue will bring together scientists and physicians from multiple disciplines to address diseases – including cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes

Quality and patient satisfaction improved as well. In 2013, UK HealthCare was recognized as a Rising Star by the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), rising an unprecedented 44 spots in the UHC’s annual quality and accountability ranking of its 118 member academic medical centers. In 2014, UK HealthCare was named a Top Performing Hospital by The Joint Commission.

In its research mission, UK HealthCare earned a trio of distinctions in recent years that only a handful of other academic medical centers can match. Researchers secured a $20 million Clinical Translational Science Award in 2011, a $7 million grant to the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging for continued Alzheimer’s disease research and, in 2013, the Markey Cancer Center received designation from the National Cancer Institute. Also, in late 2014, UK researchers received a $14.9 million grant from the federal Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to identify optimal transition approaches as patients move between different levels of care.

In outreach efforts, UK HealthCare continues its leadership role in strengthening hospitals and provider networks throughout Kentucky via affiliation agreements. Today, we boast about 200 such relationships, including stroke care support at St. Claire Regional Medical Center and management of the Eastern State Hospital. Early in 2015, UK HealthCare partnered with Supporting Our Appalachian Region (SOAR)a state and federal initiative to diversify and improve Eastern Kentucky’s economy. The UK College of Medicine also recently partnered with Western Kentucky University and the Medical Center of Bowling Green to meet the rising demand for physicians and care providers across Kentucky. The new satellite training centers will allow the College of Medicine to lead the training of the next generation of care providers in Kentucky.

A new strategic plan unveiled in June 2015 presents an ambitious roadmap to continued growth and strengthening of UK HealthCare’s clinical services, including expansion of our network throughout Kentucky and beyond, and the establishment of our reputation as a top-tier academic medical center.  

Learn more about UK HealthCare.