As a 40-year employee of Kentucky Medical Services Foundation, Inc., I take offense, personally and professionally, at the article, “Arm of UK HealthCare stays secretive,” and the insinuation that monies collected by the foundation serve as a slush fund.
I was there when KMSF was formulated. The medical school was in danger of losing its accreditation; it had only 92 clinical faculty members. To save the school, Dean Kay Clawson and Dr. Ward Griffith canvassed other academic medical centers to learn how they attracted and retained top physicians.
The result of that research was to establish a faculty practice organization, which ultimately became KMSF. The objective was to attract the best physicians by paying competitive salaries and fringe benefits and to provide support for the educational, clinical and research missions.
KMSF funds helped facilitate the purchase of a bankrupt Good Samaritan Hospital, saving hundreds of jobs and with no interruption in service.
The airplane is used to transport top executives and clinicians to other Kentucky hospitals to establish mutually beneficial clinical arrangements for the good of the patients each serves.
KMSF and UK helped to fund the Child Development Center — the only day-care center in the region that specializes in caring for children with special needs. Located close to campus, it is convenient to the dozens of faculty and staff members who utilize its services.
Yes, there is funding support at certain athletic facilities, but the reality is that UK is a business. It is dependent upon voluntary contributions. Entertaining is one such vehicle for those contributions and a way to support the university.
Furthermore, the affidavit from former executive director Darrell Griffith was full of false information. Every contract and expenditure was in support of the charitable function of KMSF, to support the missions of UK. Griffith not only endorsed and helped pursue these endeavors, but his signature is on all referenced agreements and approvals.
Dr. Michael Karpf had a vision when he came to UK HealthCare. For years, other hospitals and physicians in the private sector were hesitant to send their patients to UK. Communication wasn’t good; the perception was that once the patients were seen at UK, the referring physicians and community hospitals were absent in the continuity of care.
Karpf changed that perception. His goal was to advance the specialty care that only UK can and should provide. He insisted that the community hospitals and private physicians manage their patients fully. His vision was to provide state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, recruit the top physicians across this great nation, and ensure the people of our commonwealth did not have to go to Nashville or Cincinnati to receive top-quality specialty services.
His vision has become our reality.
On a personal level, UK HealthCare has been there for my family. Because of its excellent transplant program, my husband was among the first kidney-transplant recipients. While I lost him a year ago to cancer, because of UK HealthCare and my Lord above, we had 41 beautiful years together.
In 1998, a car wreck on Tates Creek Road took the life of a pregnant woman. Because of the doctors at UK HealthCare, the baby was miraculously saved, and the child was featured on the Children’s Miracle Network. That baby became my granddaughter.
When my son was a sophomore in high school, a 185-pound barbell dropped on his face across his eyes. I thought his beautiful face would be damaged forever. To look at him now, one would never know, again thanks to the wonderful specialists at UK HealthCare. Within the last year, my daughter has experienced multiple surgeries due to burns on her hands. Without the specialists at UK HealthCare, she could easily have lost the use of her hands.
My story is not unique. Thousands of families are helped each year at UK HealthCare. It is both an honor and a privilege to work for such a stellar organization and for the teams of physicians within that system.
Peggy Halcomb of Nicholasville is director of billing services at the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation.
At issue: Aug. 21 Herald-Leader article, “How the secretive arm of UK HealthCare spends $200 million a year”