The Bluegrass Regional Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board was established in 1966 during a national initiative to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill. The board is composed of unpaid volunteers who serve because they care personally and professionally about the most vulnerable of our fellow Kentuckians.
Several facts you should know about Bluegrass:
Bluegrass operates Comprehensive Care Centers in 17 counties of Central Kentucky. Our highly professional staff serves nearly 30,000 Kentuckians each year.
In 1995 Bluegrass was asked by the state to take over the management of Eastern State Hospital; we have managed it for 17 highly successful years. We successfully advocated for and lobbied, along with other concerned citizens, to have a new hospital built to replace an outdated, depressing, inadequate facility.
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Because of our exemplary record, in 2006 the state turned again to Bluegrass to rescue Oakwood, the residential facility in Somerset for persons with severe intellectual/developmental disabilities. Oakwood had lost its Medicaid funding and was costing the state millions each month out of the General Fund to operate. Bluegrass' top management virtually moved to Somerset and in five short years, the remarkable staff there turned around Oakwood, had its Medicaid funding restored, and was cited as a "model for the nation." We have successfully complied with the federal mandate to reduce the census at Oakwood and to move eligible adults into supported community homes.
We manage a fiscally sound organization that annually receives clean financial audits that meet all appropriate standards of accounting. Over our 45 years, we have gradually accumulated just over 90 days of reserves for "rainy days." Rainy days are occurring with increasing regularity as the managed care companies routinely deny care and delay reimbursing us for services rendered for as much as 75 to 80 days.
In 2008 the board undertook a national search to find a president/CEO. After screening more than 160 applications and conducting three finalists interviews, the board hired Shannon Ware. As CEO, she is highly qualified, knowledgeable and a proven leader. The board fully supports our president/CEO. She is doing an excellent job under the most trying economic circumstances.
The board greatly values our staff in the community offices, Eastern State Hospital and Oakwood. They are remarkable people working in difficult situations.
Our board began planning in February 2012 to find a way, even if it meant reducing our reserves, to reward our staff for their dedication and hard work. We did so on June 14.
The Bluegrass board, who are your friends, family, and neighbors, devote ourselves to providing these services because we care deeply about our patients/clients. We do not turn anyone away who needs care. We provide more than $4 million in charity care every year.
We are moving forward. We plan to continue operating the new Eastern State Hospital for many years to come. We understand the current political climate, which favors private for-profit hospital management companies.
Dollar-for-dollar, the Bluegrass board's ability to efficiently and effectively manage your tax dollars and maintain the highest quality of patient care is without peer. We stand on our record, our achievements, our leadership, our board, our staff and our national recognition. We are proud to be Bluegrass.