UK HealthCare

KCH, Easterseals partner to expand services for kids with special health care needs

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KCH will lease space from Easterseals Bluegrass to house clinics for children with complex medical needs.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2022) — UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) and Easterseals Bluegrass (formerly known as Easterseals Cardinal Hill) are partnering to expand services for children who require complex medical and developmental care. 

Easterseals Bluegrass, a Lexington-based nonprofit recently purchased the former Shriners Children's Hospital property on Richmond Road in Lexington to expand services. 

As part of the plan, KCH will lease 25,000 square feet in the Richmond Road facility for three specialty clinics. The lease agreement was approved Thursday by the University Health Care Committee and will be executed pending approval Friday by the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees.

The clinics include:

  • Complex Care Clinic, which provides medical and developmental follow-up care for infants and young children up to age 5 with medical complexity.
  • Developmental Pediatrics Clinic, which offers screening, diagnostic and therapeutic services for children with complex developmental-behavioral conditions such as autism.
  • NICU Graduate Clinic, a clinical site for babies and young children with special medical needs. The clinic not only serves babies who were cared for in the KCH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but also children born prematurely who are at risk for developmental problems.

“Families struggle with the logistics of caring for their children because there isn’t a model in Kentucky where these services are provided in one location,” said Scottie B. Day, M.D., physician-in-chief at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. “They must go to multiple sites to get the appropriate care for their children. This partnership will increase patient access to these services and better serve the children of the Commonwealth.”

Designed with patients with special health care needs in mind, the space features a single floor layout, family restrooms with adult-sized changing tables, observation rooms so providers and families can observe the care being provided and quiet waiting rooms for patients with complex sensory needs.

“From the beginning, our mission has been to ensure all children and adults have access to high quality health care and services,” said Jamie Ellis, executive director of Easterseals Bluegrass.

Funding for the new clinical spaces for KCH is made possible in part by a generous donation from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals local partners. Additional donor opportunities will be available as the facility and patient base expands.

“Without our Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals partnerships, this new space and our ability to expand our clinics wouldn’t be possible,” said Day. “This will be the only facility of its kind in the state; with Easterseals Bluegrass, we’re building this with growth in mind so that we can continue to expand complex, multidisciplinary care.”

Construction and renovations of the facility are expected to be complete in 2023. 

“Our goal in purchasing this iconic property was to find a health care partner who shares the vision of providing quality care in a center of excellence,” said Gregg Thornton, chair of Easterseals Bluegrass Board of Directors. “With this new facility and partnership, we will be able to bridge the gap between providers and Kentucky families will have access to more health care services in one convenient location.”

Easterseals Bluegrass will expand services that are currently offered and add additional services at the new location including:

  • Creative Beginnings Child Development Center which offers child care for children typically developing and with special needs ages 6 weeks to kindergarten.
  • Pediatric outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
  • Adaptive recreation that promotes healthy and active lifestyles for people with disabilities.
  • Adult Day Health which offers medical care and social services for individuals who have developmental, intellectual and/or physical disabilities.
  • HorseAbility, a summer day program for school aged children with health care needs.
  •  A day program for medically fragile children (also called Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care) will be added in February 2023.

About KCH

Kentucky Children's Hospital, part of UK HealthCare, is committed to providing the best care possible, for children as well as families. With the region's only Level I pediatric trauma center and Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, more than 30 advanced subspecialty programs such as pediatric oncology and pediatric surgery and nationally ranked by the U.S. News and World Report in both pediatric heart care and orthopaedics, KCH is equipped to provide the highest level of care to young patients, close to home.

About Easterseals

For nearly a century, Easterseals has served individuals with disabilities and special needs throughout Kentucky. The organization built and operated Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital until 2015 when it was sold to Encompass Health. The inpatient hospital will remain at its current location. The programs operated by Easterseals Bluegrass will relocate to Richmond Road. Easterseals Bluegrass is dedicated to creating environments that foster inclusion and empowerment for all regardless of circumstance. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.