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King’s Daughters officially becomes part of UK

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December 1, 2022


**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.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.

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