UK HealthCare

King’s Daughters officially becomes part of UK

King's Daughters is now officially part of the University of Kentucky.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2022) — Ashland-based King’s Daughters (KD), the largest employer in northeastern Kentucky, officially became part of the University of Kentucky today — a move that will create greater access to high-quality care for more Kentuckians.

“Advancing Kentucky is the goal for everything we do at the University of Kentucky and the health and well-being of the people in the Commonwealth is critical to that mission,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “King’s Daughters and its team will help move this vision forward by continuing to provide high-quality health care to Ashland and the surrounding region as it has for decades.”

UK and King’s Daughters have been working together for nearly two years as members of Royal Blue Health LLC (RBH). During this time, King’s Daughters has experienced significant growth in employees and revenues and has begun to build and expand important infrastructure to improve access and care for people in the region. In October 2022, the UK Board of Trustees approved plans for the KD to become part of UK.

Today, UK and King’s Daughters have satisfied all requisite requirements and as of Dec. 1, 2022, have finalized the necessary documents to complete the transition of KD becoming a part of UK. 

“King’s Daughters has been invested in the people and this region for more than 120 years,” said Kristie Whitlatch, president/CEO of King’s Daughters. “Being part of UK provides opportunities for King’s Daughters to continue to enhance services, update equipment and facilities, continue hiring of needed team members and ensure long-term financial stability.”

King’s Daughters serves a 16-county region across Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia and has more than 5,000 employees. Its health system is comprised of two acute-care hospitals totaling 465 licensed beds; an integrated network of more than 600 physicians and advanced practitioners; more than 50 ambulatory centers and practice locations; a long-term care facility; medical transport company; and six urgent care centers.

When the partnership was established, UK and King’s Daughters intentionally positioned King’s Daughters to keep its identity and continue to make decisions locally.

The transition will not impact employee’s positions, duties or daily work and they will retain their KD date-of-hire and benefits.

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.