UK, not questioned mental-health agency, will run Eastern State

Herald-Leader photo by Mark Mahan: Hospital nears completion

The University of Kentucky will manage the new Eastern State Hospital, replacing the Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board, which has operated the current facility since 1995. The new hospital, being built on UK’s Coldstream Research Campus off Newtown Pike, will replace an outdated facility along that boulevard in central Lexington.

Gov. Steve Beshear “said the state and UK intend for Bluegrass Regional to remain an ‘integral part’ of the new hospital, and would help with the transition, but he provided no details,” Linda Blackford reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. The state and UK HealthCare have signed a letter of intent to enter into a contract, but details remain to be worked out, said Audrey Tayse Haynes, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. She said the initial contract would be for one year and $43 million.

“Beshear said talks between the state and UK began before the Lexington
Herald-Leader reported in June 2012 on questionable spending at
Bluegrass,” leading to a state audit, Blackford reports. “The audit found lax board oversight and lavish spending on
executives while front-line workers went without pay raises.”

“Beshear said the new partnership would put Kentucky at the forefront of mental health care because of the clinical expertise that UK brings in neuroscience, psychiatry, pharmacy, nursing and social work,” Blackford writes.

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