Former director of UK medical foundation says it’s ‘gone beyond its scope’ but UK officials say it’s helped them do much good

A foundation that the University of Kentucky created to supplement pay for physicians has “gone beyond its scope,” its former director told the Lexington Herald-Leader for a long story examining the workings of the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation.

Headlined “How the secretive arm of UK HealthCare spends $200 million a year,” the story by Linda Blackford noted in the second paragraph, “Although its board is made up almost entirely of UK doctors, UK contends the foundation is a separate, private entity that does not have to make its records available for public inspection.” That issue is in court.

The university did give the Herald-Leader some records, and those documents and tax and court filings showed that UK officials “used the foundation’s coffers to pay for a private airplane, construction of a daycare center, and millions of dollars in contracts with consultants and lawyers that aren’t subject to state procurement rules and don’t have to go through a bidding process,” Blackford reports. “It even pays for the Keeneland membership of UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Karpf, and supports aging foxhounds at the Iroquois Hunt

The foundation’s former director, Darrell Griffith, “cited several examples of the foundation’s creeping mission in an affadavit filed in a lawsuit against UK by a former surgeon,” Blackford writes. “For example, Griffith questioned the foundation’s decision to
hire consultants to help a failing business at UK’s Coldstream Research Park, rent a private airplane for top-level UK HealthCare officials, become a landlord, and build a daycare on UK property and subsidize its day-to-day operations.” He said it was designed to operate outside control of UK trustees and state procurement law.

UK officials say the foundation has allowed them to do such things as add Good Samaritan Hospital to UK HealthCare, move several UK HealthCare functions to a remodeled department store in the old Turfland Mall and subsidize day care for children of UK employees.

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