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UK to take over state mental facility in Lexington

Jan. 18, 2013 @ 06:00 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Steve Beshear announced Friday that University of Kentucky HealthCare will operate a longtime state psychiatric facility when its new complex opens this summer.

UK and the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services have signed a letter of intent allowing the change, he said in a news release.

Eastern State in Lexington has been run since 1995 by Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board Inc. and serves more than 2,000 patients a year from a 50-county central Kentucky region, according to the Bluegrass website.

The new, $129 million Eastern State complex will replace the current pre-Civil War era hospital that is the nation’s second-oldest psychiatric hospital.

“For too long, the treatment of those with behavioral health conditions have been served separately from our overall health system and this artificial separation of behavioral health from physical health care is no longer acceptable,” said CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “Through this partnership ... the state is taking a monumental step in achieving this much-needed integration.”

Bluegrass will continue to be involved in Eastern State after the change.

The new 239-bed Eastern State Hospital is scheduled to open this summer. The facility will provide inpatient psychiatric treatment, a neuro-behavioral unit for individuals with acquired brain injuries, a long-term care unit for those with psychiatric disabilities requiring nursing facility level of care, and acute inpatient behavioral health treatment.

In addition the new Eastern State Hospital campus includes three 11,000 square feet personal care homes, each with the capacity to serve 16 people.