LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2018) – Underscoring its position as the largest provider of advanced specialty care in the state and faced with increasing patient volumes and high demand, UK HealthCare has submitted a Certificate of Need (CON) application outlining a plan for 141 inpatient beds at University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital.
A decision is expected to be made on the plan by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services in June.
UK HealthCare, which includes UK Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital, recently has experienced record-breaking patient volumes as part of its commitment to providing the most advanced subspecialty care in the Commonwealth.
Specifically, long-term plans to decommission Good Samaritan and the first Chandler Hospital facility have been put on hold for the foreseeable future as a result of continued high patient demand. So, as the new Pavilion A Tower is completed, UK HealthCare will be at its limit for licensed beds, necessitating the Certificate of Need application.
“Increasingly, the state’s rural and community hospitals and providers are turning to UK HealthCare when patients need complex, advanced specialty care – often for care and procedures that can only be provided at an academic medical center,” said Dr. Mark Newman, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “Last year, about half of Chandler’s admissions were patients transferred from other providers and this CON application is a proactive measure we are taking as part of our long-term strategy to provide inpatient services for complex patients in the Commonwealth.”
If approved, 64 of the 141 beds would be located on one of the two remaining shelled floors in Pavilion A of UK Chandler Hospital when it is completed.
If approved, UK Chandler Hospital would become an 865-bed facility when all of approved beds are licensed, meaning physically available for use. At that time, UK HealthCare would have an overall capacity of 1,086 beds – which includes 221 beds at UK Good Samaritan.
In 2015, the state approved a plan to add 120 beds at UK Chandler Hospital. Despite that recent increase in beds, the hospital’s occupancy rate remains more than 85 percent and climbing, said Newman. “In Kentucky, the state uses a target occupancy level of 75 percent for a hospital our size,” he said. “Higher occupancy levels of inpatients can cause inefficiencies and a strain on resources.”
During December 2017, UK Chandler Emergency Department at times had as many as 60 “boarders,” meaning 60 patients needed to be admitted to a hospital bed but none were available and inpatients instead were “boarded” in temporary accommodations such as outpatient areas and post-operative units. Additionally, patients being asked to transfer to UK from other facilities at times were having to be diverted to other hospitals and sometimes even transferred out of state.
“While we do everything we can to ensure our patients get the very best care no matter their location in the hospital or the circumstances, having boarders and diverting patients is not the way we want to care for them and it is not the type of work environment we want for our employees,” Newman said. “We feel strongly that adding these beds is what is best in the long run for our patients, our patient care providers and the Commonwealth.”