Local News

KentuckyOne Health–the state’s largest healthcare system–has announced its first major investment of the $325 million it promised to spend after its creation.

“This is the first down payment on that commitment,” said Dr. Dan Varga, the group’s Chief Clinical Officer.

Kentucky One Health was formed this year in the merger of Saint Mary’s and Saint Joseph Health Systems and Jewish Hospital.

The group will continue its focus on cardiac care in the state after announcing a $30 million investment in its Heart and Vascular Institute over the next three years that will expand programs and equipment for cardiac services.

Part of the decision to increase cardiac care comes from demand. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about one in four deaths in Kentucky are related to cardiac disease.

As more patients are having their heart rhythms looked at using specific technologies and having it corrected in a laboratory instead of taking medicine, said Varga.

“Part of the investment that we’re undertaking here right now is in large part in response to that significant increase in demand,” said Varga.

Most of the investment, around $20 million, will happen in the Louisville market, he said. Jewish Hospital is home to KentuckyOne’s cardiovascular surgical facilities and will see the initial technology investments, he said. The money will also be used for a Hybrid Operating Room for advanced health valve disease procedures.

Varga said looking forward the Affordable Care Act is expected to qualify 400,000 uninsured Kentuckians for insurance when it kicks in. Varga said a large part of the future investments for KentuckyOne Health will include primary care access.

“The dilemma for us is that a large number of those folks live in areas that don’t have any basic primary care access network in place, so one of our big investments will be along that line,” said Varga.

KentuckyOne will also invest in cancer care and services for women and children, he said.