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Defining the Role of University of Kentucky HealthCare in Its Medical Market—How Strategic Planning Creates the Intersection of Good Public Policy and Good Business Practices

Karpf, Michael MD; Lofgren, Richard MD; Bricker, Timothy MD, MBA; Claypool, Joseph O. MHA; Zembrodt, Jim MBA; Perman, Jay MD; Higdon, Courtney M. MBA

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181939677
Institutional Issues

In response both to national pressures to reduce costs and improve health care access and outcomes and to local pressures to become a top-20 public research university, the University of Kentucky moved toward an integrated clinical enterprise, UK HealthCare, to create a common vision, shared goals, and an effective decision-making process. The leadership formed the vision and then embarked on a comprehensive and coordinated planning process that addressed financial, clinical, academic, and operational issues.

The authors describe in depth the strategic planning process and specifically the definition of UK HealthCare’s role in its medical marketplace. They began a rigorous process to assess and develop goals for the clinical programs and followed the progress of these programs through meetings driven by data and attended by the organization’s senior leadership. They describe their approach to working with rural and community hospitals throughout central, eastern, and southern Kentucky to support the health care infrastructure of the state. They review the early successes of their strategic approach and describe the lessons they learned. The clinical successes have led to academic gains. The experience of UK HealthCare suggests that good business practices and good public policy are synergistic.

Dr. Karpf is executive vice president for health affairs, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr. Lofgren is vice president for healthcare operations and chief clinical officer, UK HealthCare, Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr. Bricker is chair, Department of Pediatrics, and chair, UK HealthCare Strategic Planning Committee, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

Mr. Claypool is associate vice president for clinical network development, UK HealthCare, Lexington, Kentucky.

Mr. Zembrodt is director of planning, UK HealthCare, Lexington, Kentucky.

Dr. Perman is vice president for clinical affairs and dean, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

Ms. Higdon is chief of staff to the executive vice president for health affairs, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Karpf, Office of the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, 900 South Limestone, 317 Wethington Building, Lexington, KY 40536-0200; telephone: (859) 323-5126; fax: (859) 323-1918; e-mail: (

© 2009 Association of American Medical Colleges