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Payne named to national drug court professionals hall of fame

Connie Payne, center, who headed specialty courts for the state court system, posed with National Association of Drug Court Professional’s Carolyn Hardin, right, and outgoing NADCP Board Chairman Judge Ruben Reyes after being inducted into the NADCP Hall of Fame on July 12 in Washington.
Connie Payne, center, who headed specialty courts for the state court system, posed with National Association of Drug Court Professional’s Carolyn Hardin, right, and outgoing NADCP Board Chairman Judge Ruben Reyes after being inducted into the NADCP Hall of Fame on July 12 in Washington. Photo provided

▪ Connie M. Payne, former head of Kentucky’s Drug Court and other specialty court programs for the Administrative Office of the Courts, has been inducted into National Association of Drug Court Professionals Hall of Fame for her lasting contributions to the treatment court field. This is the highest honor bestowed by the NADCP.

Named in honor of the nation’s first Drug Court judge, the Goldstein Hall of Fame honors individuals whose work has not only improved individual treatment court programs but also enhanced the treatment court model and movement. In Kentucky, treatment court programs are called specialty court programs.

After 14 years of overseeing the Kentucky Drug Court program, Payne retired from the court system on Aug. 31.

Payne began her career at the AOC in 2003 to head the Kentucky Drug Court program, and she has been instrumental in expanding the number of programs from nine to 54. Today, Drug Court serves 113 of 120 counties. She has also overseen the implementation of five Veterans Treatment Courts, a Mental Health Court and a DUI Court, which are based on the Drug Court treatment model. In 2015, the AOC created the Department of Specialty Courts to reflect the addition of these specialty courts.

▪ Saint Joseph Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a ‘high performer’ in colon cancer surgery. For the 2017-18 rankings, fewer than 200 of the 5,000 evaluated U.S. hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty and approximately 60-70 percent of all hospitals in a particular procedure or condition were rated average.

The hospital was also recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Stroke Care in 2017, making it among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for treatment of stroke and Kentucky’s only hospital to be recognized with this award.

Healthgrades also recognized Saint Joseph Hospital with the following awards: Neurosciences Excellence (2017) – top 10 percent in United States; Pulmonary Care Excellence (2016-17) – top 5 percent in United States; and Gastrointestinal Care Excellence (2017) – top 10 percent in United States.

Compiled by Dorothea Wingo

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