Home » Health Care: Major expansions

Health Care: Major expansions

Health care organizations are working to provide top-notch care to Central Kentucky.

By Shannon Clinton

Health care is one of Central Kentucky’s prime business clusters and area organizations are bustling with major building projects, embracing the latest innovations and increasing patient access for the region.

Baptist Health Lexington has major expansions in the works. When it opens in 2024 along the I-64/I-75 corridor, Baptist Health Hamburg will have an outpatient multidisciplinary cancer center, an orthopedic center of excellence, emergency services, labs, imaging, outpatient surgery, physical therapy, primary and specialty clinics, gastrointestinal/endoscopy, urology and more.

Baptist Health officials say the $253 million project is designed to improve patient access.

In December, the Thrive Center at Baptist Health will open in Richmond as an 11-bed behavioral health inpatient service. The center will offer psychiatric evaluation/treatment, individual, group and family therapy and psychoeducation, individualized treatment and more.

In assessing the community’s needs, Baptist Health found that between 2020 and 2021, the total number of patient visits at the Baptist Health Richmond behavioral health clinic increased by 74% and in 2021, Baptist Health Medical Group cared for over 2,000 new behavioral health patients in the Richmond and Berea markets.

In response, Baptist Health Richmond’s emergency department renovations include adding three behavioral health exam rooms to treat patients who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.
In a new partnership with Louisville-based OnRequest Mobile Clinic, Baptist Health Richmond is also delivering a range of clinical care and support services via mobile exam units. The mobile units offer wellness screenings, clinical visits, vaccine hesitancy education and referrals to additional services, including behavioral health.

Striving to improve accessibility
In February, Lexington-based Central Bank made a $10 million gift toward expanding care at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. The gift—the largest in the organization’s history—kicked off an initiative to raise $90 million and will help fund a new 260,000-s.f. outpatient cancer treatment center complex across from UK’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital.

UK HealthCare also announced a $20.3 million purchase agreement on 27 acres in Lexington’s Hamburg development along I-75, with indications it might seek more land later. Plans have not been unveiled but call for the site to become a new medical campus likely to include a regional hospital, medical office building and other clinical facilities.

A flurry of announcements for UK HealthCare followed the Central Bank gift. In June, the William Stamps Farish Fund made a $5 million gift to the cancer center, creating the Ambassador William Stamps Farish Program of Excellence in Urologic Cancer. The Markey Center’s Urologic Cancer Clinic is scheduled to open in 2025.

In July, the UK College of Medicine announced a $22 million gift from Dr. Michael Rankin. It will be used for College of Medicine scholarships and for a new health education building.

Later that same month, UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Neuroscience Institute opened a new 66,000-s.f. inpatient unit at UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital’s Pavilion A to treat neurological health problems such as stroke and epilepsy. The unit has 36 progressive-care rooms, 20 neurologic intensive-care rooms and a 12-room epilepsy monitoring unit, now the largest of its kind in the state.
July was also the month when the new and expanded 15,000-s.f. UK HealthCare Sanders-Brown Memory Clinic at Turfland opened, providing enhanced memory care and support for those with dementia and other memory disorders.

Meanwhile, UK HealthCare Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has begun providing services at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington.

Adding staff and services
Central Kentucky health care institutions are also investing in building their ranks to support additional facilities and services.

CHI Saint Joseph Health is investing $2.5 million in tuition assistance and program support of Kentucky State University’s School of Nursing over the next five years. CHI Saint Joseph Health CEO Anthony A. Houston said the alliance will include job placement for nurses at CHI Saint Joseph Health upon completion of the KSU program.

Houston said his organization has invested significant capital in a new Epic electronic health record (EHR) system, which is now being implemented statewide.

Through its foundation, Saint Joseph is expanding telehealth capabilities to connect Lexington specialists with patients in Bourbon, Bullitt, Estill, Fayette, Garrard, Hardin, Jefferson, Jessamine, Larue, Lincoln, Marion, Powell, Spencer and Washington counties.

And thanks to a federal grant, the CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundation is adding telehealth solutions in 14 additional Kentucky counties while offering home health services to an additional 658 patients, providing crucial follow-up care for patients with COVID-19 or other acute or chronic diseases.

Another way Saint Joseph is serving the community is through a new initiative directed toward youth ages 14-18. The Creating Safe Neighborhoods initiative, made possible through a CommonSpirit Health Mission and Ministry Fund grant, offers programming to encourage healthy behaviors and choices.

Some patients have unmet needs as they’re leaving the hospital, so “Humankindness Havens” facilities in Saint Joseph’s Mount Sterling, London, Bardstown and Berea (and soon to be Lexington) are there to lend a helping hand. The Humankindness Havens provide items like food, clothing and information about finding additional community resources.

“These Humankindness Havens illustrate who we are as a ministry serving the patients of Central and Eastern Kentucky,” Houston said.