UK gets approval to add 120 hospital beds, bringing its total to 945 and long-term building project’s cost past $1 billion

The University of Kentucky has received state approval to add 120 beds to its hospital complex, which will bring its total to 945 beds at UK Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital.

The project is “part of the overall strategy to make UK the regional hospital of choice among several states and a powerhouse that will survive when health care is so uncertain,” Lexington Herald-Leader higher-education reporter Linda Blackford said Friday on KET‘s “Comment on Kentucky.”

Dr. Michael Karpf

Blackford writes for the newspaper, “The 120 beds are the next phase in the patient tower project that
began in 2004 with an estimated cost of $400 million and an original
completion date of 2009. The cost of the expansion has risen to
roughly $1 billion, and there is no longer a completion date, said Dr.
Michael Karpf, executive vice president for health affairs at UK. After
the 120 beds are added, the tower still will have several empty floors.

shifting timetables are all a part of coping with a fast-growing
patient base and ever-changing medical technology, Karpf said.
Originally, the patient tower was to be a replacement for Chandler
Hospital, which was built in the 1950s. But a rapid increase in the
number of patients meant the space now will be used for new beds, he

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Karpf said in a UK news release, “About 10 years ago, we committed to develop UK HealthCare into a research intensive, referral academic medical center to ensure all Kentuckians — no matter how complex their medical problem — could be taken care of in Kentucky and not required to leave the state for advanced subspecialty medical care,” said Karpf. “This strategy, while crucial to our goal of taking care of patients in the commonwealth, has resulted in substantial growth beyond our initial aggressive projections.”

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