Dr. Peggy Stevens to lead new Eastern State Hospital

UK HealthCare announces the appointment of Dr. Peggy Stephens as chief administrative officer/chief medical officer of the new Eastern State Hospital, which is projected to open in August.

Dr. Stephens will oversee the opening of the new 239-bed Eastern State Hospital facility, which will be managed by UK and is located on UK’s Coldstream Research Campus in Lexington. The 300,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility will provide recovery-focused inpatient psychiatric treatment in a modern setting.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Stephens joining us as part of our team,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “Her impressive track record of leadership, collaboration and innovation make her the ideal leader of the new Eastern State Hospital.”

An award-winning psychiatrist and administrator with experience in both the public and private sectors, Dr. Stephens comes to UK HealthCare from Madison State Hospital in Madison, Ind., where she has served as the superintendent, chief executive officer and medical director of the 150-bed facility since 2005.

Dr. Stephens is a Distinguished Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association and maintains three specialty board certifications awarded by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She is a former faculty member of Harvard University Medical School and past president of the Kentucky Medical Psychiatric Association.

A strong proponent for change within the state system and the key architect in the clinical and organizational transformation of Madison State Hospital, she served as a Governor’s appointee to Indiana’s Mental Health Transformation Work Group during its existence from 2005-2011.

A native of Louisville, Dr. Stephens received both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Louisville, and completed her medical degree at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. During her residency in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry at UK Chandler Hospital, she served as a part-time physician at Eastern State Hospital.

“I am truly excited to be returning to my home state of Kentucky and to the University of Kentucky, particularly for the unique opportunity to open this wonderful new facility with such endless potential,” Stephens said. “By collaborating with the staff of Eastern State Hospital and integrating the resources of the University of Kentucky, I am confident that we can provide outstanding recovery-focused care and launch a new era of behavioral health care in Kentucky.”

In addition to providing acute inpatient behavioral health treatment, the new Eastern State Hospital will feature an expanded Recovery Mall offering a broad range of services and classes to help individuals transition to the community; four personal care homes that encourage the development of transitional life skills; a neurobehavioral unit for individuals with acquired brain injury; and a long-term care unit serving individuals with psychiatric disabilities requiring nursing facility level of care.

The management of the new facility will be a partnership among UK, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and bluegrass.org. In this new role, UK HealthCare will bring clinical, research and administrative expertise to the hospital as it moves into the new $129 million facility designed to deliver recovery-focused care. UK has agreed to a set of outcomes and performance measures, including:

  • improvement of patient treatment while hospitalized;
  • continuity of care during and post hospitalization; and
  • increase in the number of individuals leaving the hospital to return to community living.

Dr. Stephens joins the UK HealthCare team on July 1. She will be appointed as an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry in addition in her leadership role in the new Eastern State Hospital management team.


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