St Claire HealthCare, a health provider based in Morehead, Kentucky, has officially become part of UK Healthcare.

UK Healthcare represents the hospitals as well as clinics of the University of Kentucky.

This move is anticipated to enhance academic programmes and improve patient care accessibility for locals. The merger was sanctioned by the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees in April 2024.

St Claire, a key employer in the greater Morehead region, has staff headcount of over 1,300, including more than 50 physicians and nearly 50 advanced practice professionals.

The institution has a longstanding partnership with UK, co-developing significant academic and clinical initiatives such as the Rural Physician Leadership Program.

These collaborative efforts include training and residency programmes across multiple medical disciplines.

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In 2023, St Claire initiated a request for information (RFI) process, engaging with 12 organisations before the board of directors and the Sisters of Notre Dame selected UK as the preferred partner.

St Claire president and CEO Donald H. Lloyd II expressed confidence in the merger, stating: “Through this partnership, our neighbours will enjoy top-quality medical care in their own backyard.

“We know health outcomes improve greatly when care is easier to access, and we are confident, as are St Claire’s stewards for these past many years, the Sisters of Notre Dame, that joining the UK family will lead to transformative changes in our region.”

UK president Eli Capilouto noted: “Today, because of the support of policymakers, legislators and so many others, we welcome and celebrate St Claire HealthCare as part of the promise we make to the state whose name we bear and whose future we are committed to serve.”

St Claire’s facilities include a 139-bed hospital, primary care locations across five counties, specialty and urgent care facilities, a paediatrics clinic, and a range of other health services.