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UK HealthCare plans to acquire Kentucky system

The University of Kentucky board of trustees has approved plans to proceed with the acquisition of St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead, Ky. 

Lexington-based UK HealthCare's proposed acquisition of St. Claire would expand clinical and academic programs and expand access to high-quality care for more patients in the region, according to the health system. 

Both parties are seeking regulatory and other third-party approvals and finalizing transition documents with a targeted closing date of July 1.

St. Claire HealthCare is one of the largest employers in the greater Morehead region with more than 1,300 employees, including more than 50 physicians and almost 50 advanced practice providers. It includes a 139-bed hospital, seven primary care facilities, two urgent care centers, a multispecialty pavilion, a retail pharmacy and provides home health and hospice services.

"As the board went through the process to select a partner for St. Claire HealthCare, UK was identified as the natural partner that could carry forward the previous work and ongoing investment while growing the healthcare workforce," St. Claire President and CEO Donald Lloyd said in an April 26 news release. "Both St. Claire and UK are deeply committed to accessible and high-quality patient care and strategic collaborations that will enhance services to benefit Kentuckians throughout northeastern Kentucky."

Since the 1960s, St. Claire has partnered with UK on various academic and clinical programs to grow the healthcare workforce of northeastern Kentucky. UK and St. Claire co-developed the rural physician leadership program, in collaboration with Morehead State University. St. Claire houses the UK College of Health Sciences physician assistant program and is an established training and residency site for UK's colleges of medicine, pharmacy and health sciences.

"UK is closely aligned with our mission to grow medical services rather than consolidate them, integrating our clinical expertise with their resources and commitment to our region," Mr. Lloyd said. 

In December 2022, UK welcomed King's Ashland, Ky.-based Daughters Health, a 465-bed system. The acquisition expanded its advanced medical care capabilities and access to patients in eastern Kentucky, southern Ohio and parts of West Virginia, CFO Craig Collins told Becker's.

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