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Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital

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Title: Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital  
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Subject: Bellefonte, Kentucky, Flatwoods, Kentucky, Russell, Kentucky, Ashland Community and Technical College
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Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital
Location 1100 St. Christopher Drive, Ashland, KY 41101

38°30′30″N 82°41′33″W / 38.508414°N 82.692385°W / 38.508414; -82.692385Coordinates: 38°30′30″N 82°41′33″W / 38.508414°N 82.692385°W / 38.508414; -82.692385

Care system
Hospital type General
Affiliated university University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
Emergency department Yes
Beds 214
Founded July 14, 1953

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital is a 214-bed not-for-profit acute care hospital located in Ashland, Kentucky in the Tri-State region of Northeast Kentucky, Southern Ohio, and Western West Virginia. Part of the Catholic-based Bon Secours Health System Inc., Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital employs approximately 1,200 healthcare professionals, making the hospital the largest employer in Greenup County.[1]


Early history

The Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, a congregation of Catholic sisters, received repeated requests from residents of different parts of Kentucky during the 1950s to open a hospital or social service center.[2] In 1953 a group of concerned citizens approached the Most Reverend William T. Malloy, Bishop of Covington, and asked for his help in creating a new hospital called Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH). Construction started in 1952 on a 31-acre (130,000 m2) tract, four miles (6 km) from downtown Ashland, Ky. At the time, the tract only was accessible by a small dirt road.[3]

The official dedication of the hospital took place July 14, 1953 and included a reading of a cablegram from Pope Pius XII. It read, "Our Holy Father deeply grateful, learned forthcoming inauguration, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ashland, Kentucky, sends cordial felicitations. Invokes God's special blessings, praiseworthy project. Imparts Your Excellency, priests, religious, faithful, and hospital staff, fraternal Apostolic Benediction."

Upon opening, the hospital had 92 beds and 40 bassinets.[2] In March 1956, the road leading to the hospital was blacktopped and during the summer, a new highway, U.S. 23, was laid, thus reducing by about one-third the distance from Ashland to the hospital.[3]

Growth through the Years

In 1963, a fund-raising project was initiated for expansion including additional beds for adult patients, a pediatric unit, and an air-conditioning unit for an additional floor. The fourth floor addition was completed in 1966 and brought the hospital's bed capacity to 126 with 22 pediatric beds and 19 medical-surgical beds. In the late 1970s the emergency room began serving patients 24 hours a day. The third floor of the hospital was renovated and the first Intensive/Coronary Care Unit opened in 1979. In 1981, expansion provided new areas for the Emergency Room, Radiology, Laboratory, Physical Therapy and Respiratory Therapy. OLBH’s first chemical dependency program was established Dec. 21, 1981.[3]

Continued expansion began in 1982 and included a new surgical unit and a seven-bed recovery area. Significant capital improvements took place in 1986 including the opening of a new rehabilitation and wellness center, a kidney dialysis center, a 116-car parking garage and a mental health/chemical dependency center that today operates as the Bellefonte Behavioral Health Center.

A wellness/rehabilitation center called the Vitality Center (now known as the Human Motion Vitality Center) opened in 1992.[2] The center featured an indoor track and rehabilitation-size swimming pool along with a variety of fitness equipment. The hospital opened a 24-bed addition in 1994. The addition created extra patient rooms and meeting space on each of the hospital's four floors. The second floor featured specially designed rooms for oncology treatments.

In 1994, OLBH began an outreach program, opening walk-in primary medical care facilities in several outlying communities. The centers offered many basic services onsite and were designed for non-emergency medical care. The original centers were located in South Shore, Cannonsburg, Grayson and Flatwoods. The areas are still being served today through OLBH’s sister organization, Bellefonte Physician Services. In addition to the original locations, Bellefonte Physician Services today operates primary-care facilities in Ashland and Ironton, Ohio. In 1995, ground was broken for the Same Day Surgery Center which was completed in January 1998.

Expansion in the Modern Era

In 1999 the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Health System announced plans to disband. In 2000, OLBH was purchased by the Bon Secours Health System, Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland.[4] OLBH introduced the Ashland-area's first sleep lab in 2002. In an effort to assist in training physicians, OLBH began a resident program in 2002 in conjunction with the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. OLBH launched a mobile medical facility, known as the OLBH Mobile Health Center, in 2002. In 2004, OLBH became the first tenant of the former Ashland Inc. headquarters building, which was renamed Bellefonte Centre. The hospital would use the building for additional services, hospital departments and events.

In 2005, OLBH introduced the Human Motion concept, an approach to musculoskeletal injuries and orthopedic issues and becomes the area’s first hospital to offer 64-slice CT technology. Also In 2005, OLBH opens its first new services at Bellefonte Centre with the unveiling of the OLBH Diabetes & Wound Care Center in March followed by the area’s first freestanding hospital outpatient imaging center, the OLBH Imaging Center.[5]

In 2007, hospital comparison information released by the federal government establishes OLBH as the Tri-State-area’s leading medical facility in the care of pneumonia and number one in Ashland for two important categories relating to heart failure.[6] Also that year, OLBH unveiled the hospital’s new $2.5 million endoscopy lab, the first phase of a $5 million hospital expansion.[7]

OLBH purchased the Addington Corporate Center located adjacent to Bellefonte Centre in 2008 to use for future growth.[8] The purchase price for the one-time Ashland Oil Petroleum Building was $2.8 million. 2008 was a major expansion year at OLBH, as the hospital unveiled the OLBH Women’s Center, a $1.1 million all-encompassing facility that created a “one stop shop” for area women. The center offers GE Full Field digital mammography, the daily presence of an OLBH surgeon, clinical breast examinations, breast ultrasound, surgical consultations, minimally invasive breast biopsy, a DEXA densitometer to screen for bone density, a retail boutique and a women’s health library.[9] In 2008, the Same Day Surgery Center was renovated, completing a $5 million expansion to increase surgery capacity in addition to a $3.1 million surgery expansion at the hospital which added operating capacity for inpatient surgeries.

Building on its orthopedics reputation, Human Motion OrthoCare opens in Sept. 2008. The new orthopedic unit on the hospital’s fourth floor is dedicated exclusively to the care of orthopedic patients.[10]


In 2008, OLBH received four five-star distinctions from the independent Professional Research Consultants (PRC.)[11] The five-star patient satisfaction honors indicates ranking in the top 10 percent in the US. The following year, in addition to two patient satisfaction honors, the hospital received four five-star and four four-star awards from PRC based on physician satisfaction scores.

In 2009, HealthGrades, a national independent healthcare ratings organization, presented OLBH with its Pulmonary Care Excellence Award.[12] It was the fifth straight year OLBH had received the highest-possible HealthGrades rating for treatment of pneumonia. OLBH’s HealthGrades rankings were best in the Huntington, W.Va./Ashland, Ky. area for pulmonary care and the hospital ranked among the top ten percent of hospitals nationwide in pulmonary care for six consecutive years.[12] OLBH has received five-star distinction for treatment of pneumonia for eight straight years.[12]

In 2009, OLBH received a five-star rating for treatment of heart attack for the third straight year.[12] Additionally, the hospital received these top quality ratings for treatment of respiratory failure and sepsis, a critical bloodstream infection. Five-star distinction also was granted OLBH in gastrointestinal surgery and procedures. OLBH is ranked in the top five in the state of Kentucky for both gastrointestinal surgery and services.

OLBH received HealthGrades’ Outstanding Patient Experience Award in the first year it was awarded in 2009 and received it again for the 2009/10 year.[12] The distinction indicates a hospital is among the nation’s top 15 percent in patient experience. To identify the top-performing hospitals, HealthGrades analyzed survey results for hospitals nationwide that participated in a federal initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. OLBH received the Patient Experience Award for the third straight year for 2010/11. That year, OLBH ranked among the top five percent in the nation for patient experience based on an analysis of patient surveys from 3,775 hospitals. OLBH was one of only two hospitals in the state of Kentucky to rank among the top five percent nationally.


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