Kentucky Hospitals Gain National Reputation for Quality

Kentucky's hospitals have gained a number of national awards for quality health-care treatment at their urban and rural facilities.

On Saturday, April 28, 2012 - 05:01

Kentucky hospitals are vital resources to their communities, but they are also building a growing reputation for excellence in health-care treatment and research.

The state’s 130 hospitals treat more than 600,000 patients annually and are important contributors to the state’s economy. Those health-care institutions provide employment to more than 79,000 workers and contribute more than $3.69 billion in wages.

A host of Kentucky hospitals have garnered national awards for quality care and treatment in a number of specialty areas.

Pediatric Care Leader

Kosair Children’s Hospital, based in Louisville, was ranked among the top children’s hospitals nationwide in eight of 10 specialty areas, according to rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

“We are proud to have the full array of pediatric health-care services at Kosair and we are equally blessed to have outstanding and dedicated professionals,” says Thomas D. Kmetz, president of Kosair.

Kosair’s main hospital is located in the downtown Louisville Medical Center, where it serves as the pediatric teaching facility for the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine. The institution also operates Kosair Medical Center in Owensboro and Kosair Children’s Outpatient Centers in Bowling Green and Owensboro.

Kosair announced in August 2011 that it would create a new women's and children's hospital at the Norton Suburban Hospital location in Louisville. The capital investment involved in transforming the new hospital is expected to be between $60 million and $80 million. Kosair also plans $50 million to $60 million in capital improvements to its existing downtown facility over the next three to four years.

Kentucky’s superior quality of life is one reason that the hospital has successfully recruited and retained skilled medical professionals, Kmetz says.

“We have a very low turnover rate; once they move here they stay here,” he says.

The University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital in Lexington is a 489-bed acute-care hospital that has undergone some dramatic physical expansion. The hospital draws upon the resources of six UK colleges: medicine, nursing, health resources, dentistry, pharmacy and public health.

UK Chandler has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the 50 best hospitals in the U.S. in several specialty areas. In May of 2011, a 12-story patient-care pavilion was unveiled at UK Chandler. The addition includes two patient-care floors with 128 intensive-care and acute-care beds, an atrium, a surgical waiting room and a 305-seat auditorium.

Lexington-based St. Joseph Health System is a 1,012-bed, eight-facility health-care system that spans central and eastern Kentucky. St. Joseph has served the region for more than 130 years. St. Joseph has two hospitals in Lexington and facilities in Berea, London, Mount Sterling, Martin and Bardstown. All of the system's hospitals were recently recognized for outstanding inpatient performance by J.D. Power and Associates' Distinguished Hospital Program.

Focus on Rural Care

Kentucky has a keen focus on providing excellent health care in its many rural areas. Flaget Memorial Hospital, a St. Joseph affiliate in Bardstown, was named one of the nation’s 65 Great Community Hospitals by Becker’s Hospital Review. The 52-bed facility serves six rural Kentucky counties.

Flaget and Appalachian Regional Healthcare Hospital in Harlan, Ky., were named Top Small Community Hospitals by Thomson Reuters in 2011.

With six major facilities and more than 7,300 employees, St. Elizabeth Healthcare is the largest health-care provider in northern Kentucky and continually recognized as one of the nation’s best. For the past five years, St. Elizabeth was named both one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades and a 100 Top Hospital by Thomson Reuters. Founded in 1861, St. Elizabeth Healthcare has major facilities in Covington, Edgewood, Falmouth, Florence, Ft. Thomas and Grant County – as well as dozens of smaller, specialized service locations, spanning four northern Kentucky counties.

Michael T. Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, notes that Kentucky hospitals have taken the lead in voluntarily sharing information to help consumers make important health-care decisions.

"In fact," he says, "the Kentucky Hospital Association was the first organization in the Commonwealth to provide both pricing and quality information on Kentucky hospitals for the public’s use.”