UK HealthCare Announces Major Expansion Projects

By HCO Staff

LEXINGTON, Ky.—To meet the growing health needs of the community and the Commonwealth, UK HealthCare will begin planning design efforts on building projects over the next several years that could ultimately total some $2.4 billion.

Those projects – part of a refresh of UK HealthCare’s strategic plan – were endorsed recently by members of the health care committee of the UK Board of Trustees during an annual retreat. The full UK Board of Trustees will consider those projects at its Friday meeting.

Projects are designed to expand access to advanced subspecialty care on the University of Kentucky campus as well as provide more primary and specialty care in the community to UK employees and for medically underserved areas.

“More people – both within the UK community and those who simply cannot access the care we provide for many reasons – have primary and ambulatory treatment needs that should be filled closer to home,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “We are now a sprawling academic health system within a growing and thriving university enterprise – something those on whose shoulders we stand could never have envisioned more than six decades ago. We have built, not for the names on buildings or for acclaim, but for our state – its health and its future. And we must continue to grow to meet the growing needs of our state.”

Trustees on the health care committee endorsed a refresh of the academic medical system’s 2025 strategic plan and a five-year budget plan, detailing the resources necessary to fund expanded facilities on the Chandler campus, more employees and further growth as an access point for ambulatory and specialty care in the region.

Specifically, trustees endorsed the following plans:

  • Enhance the position of UK HealthCare as the state’s premier center for advanced sub-specialty care by building a new bed tower on the Chandler campus near the 12-story tower opened in 2011. UK HealthCare also will be embarking on projects to build more operating room capacity and renovate and expand existing acute pediatric care spaces as well endoscopy. UK HealthCare also estimates it will need to grow its skilled workforce by nearly 4,800 people over the next several years.
  • Expanding UK HealthCare’s capacity to care for the community and UK people. UK HealthCare, with approval from the Board of Trustees, will begin planning and design work on ambulatory care sites in the region to provide greater access to care to UK employees and their families, as well as crucially medically underserved areas here in Fayette County. The gap in life expectancy across some Fayette County zip codes, for example, is 11 years, based in part on access to care.
  • Growing an academic health system – fueled by transdisciplinary approaches to research — for Kentucky to meet the health care needs of the state. UK HealthCare’s recently completed acquisition of King’s Daughters is further expanding access to care throughout the state. Similarly, UK is constructing facilities on campus – a new Health Education Building – to bring together potential clinicians across disciplines to learn, work and heal together.

“During a time of transition and dynamic change throughout the health care landscape, it is our responsibility to ensure we are meeting the growing needs of our state,” said Britt Brockman, chair of the UK board’s health care committee. “We will remain focused on the mission we established more than 15 years ago – that no matter who you are or where you live in Kentucky, there is a place close to home to meet your advanced care needs. This is who we are. This is what we do. But that also means recognizing and responding to the growing primary and ambulatory care needs of our people and those who don’t have access to the care we provide.”