Psychiatrist turns down offer to lead Eastern State Hospital

Peggy Stephens.
Peggy Stephens.

An Indiana psychiatrist who was appointed earlier this month to lead Eastern State Hospital at its new $129 million Lexington campus, has decided not to take position, the University of Kentucky announced Tuesday.

Peggy Stephens, a former part-time physician at Eastern State, was set to start work as chief administrative officer and chief medical officer on July 1 at an annual salary of $300,000.

UK spokeswoman Kristi Lopez said "in declining the appointment, Stephens cited her strong ties to Madison State Hospital in Madison, Ind., where she has served as superintendent, chief executive officer and medical director of Madison State Hospital since 2005." Lopez would not discuss Stephens' decision beyond that. Stephens did not return calls for comment.

UK has relaunched the national search for a leader of Eastern State Hospital and have several outstanding applicants from the initial search, the statement said.

The new 239-bed Eastern State Hospital facility, which is located on UK's Coldstream Research Campus, is set to open in early September. The 300,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility, which will be managed by UK, will provide recovery-focused inpatient psychiatric treatment in a modern setting, UK Healthcare said in a statement.