Local News
3:32 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

UK to Take Over Management of Eastern State Hospital

The University of Kentucky will replace the struggling Bluegrass Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board in overseeing the Eastern State psychiatric hospital in Lexington. 

Officials announced the new agreement between UK and the state Cabinet for Health & Family Services today at the university’s Coldstream Research Campus, where construction of a new Eastern State complex is underway.

A state audit last year found questionable spending by Bluegrass, which is also laying off employees to deal with a budget deficit. Governor Steve Beshear says discussions about the new partnership for Eastern State started before that audit.

“Actually, in conversations between UK and the Cabinet on a number of things, this discussion came up and it was really when a light bulb came on in terms of a unique way to elevate this whole area to a new level,” Beshear said.

Officials say Bluegrass will still play a role in helping treat the mentally ill patients served by Eastern State.

UK Healthcare will receive $43 million in state funds for management and operations of the new hospital. The $129 million facility, expected to open this summer, will include 239 patient beds, three personal care homes, and a new unit for patients with brain injuries.