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UK HealthCare’s Dr. Michael Karpf announces decision to retire in 2017


University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs (EVPHA) Dr. Michael Karpf Wednesday announced Karpf’s decision to retire in 2017 following the hiring and appropriate transition period for his replacement.

“My original mandate when recruited to this position by then UK President Lee Todd was to revitalize the clinical enterprise at UK incorporating both the hospital system and the College of Medicine,” Karpf said. “Since my arrival in 2003, we have made considerable progress, and I feel that the original goals we established have been achieved and we have built a strong foundation for UK HealthCare.”

Under Karpf’s leadership, in the past 13 years, UK has invested close to $2 billion for faculty recruitment, program development, technology acquisition as well as facilities, while also fostering partnerships with leading regional health providers across the state to extend care to those who need it most.

Dr. Michael Karpf has been at UK since 2003 (UK Now Photo)

Dr. Michael Karpf has been at UK since 2003 (UK Now Photo)

As a result, hospital discharges in the last decade have nearly doubled from under 20,000 annually to nearly 40,000. At the same time, health research into the problems most impacting Kentucky has grown considerably, capped off two years ago by legislative approval to build a new $265 million health research facility focused specifically on the most daunting health challenges confronting the state

Against that backdrop, a national search for a new EVPHA will be conducted with the goal of completing the search and allowing for an appropriate transition. Karpf, 71, will remain fully in charge of UK HealthCare until that time, Capilouto said.

“I am convinced that UK HealthCare is the greatest success story in modern academic health center history,” Capilouto said. “This is not grandiosity. The numbers show it. The faces and stories behind those numbers paint an undeniable picture of progress, compassion and care.

“Through sheer determination and a brilliance to see far ahead into the future, and, more so, to prepare for it, Mike Karpf has authored a remarkable chapter in the history of UK HealthCare, the University of Kentucky, and the Commonwealth.”

Karpf plans to transition to a part-time faculty position working on health service and health policy issues and plans to stay involved in the art, music and humanities program that makes UK HealthCare a very special place for all, he said. “These past 13 years have been challenging but immensely rewarding to me personally. I respect the colleagues with whom I have worked, especially the faculty and staff in UK HealthCare and cherish the wonderful friends Ellen and I have made here in Lexington.”

Since being recruited to UK in 2003 from UCLA, Karpf has developed advanced sub-specialty care programs comparable to those available at the nation’s very best referral, research-intensive academic medical centers. This has been achieved in great part through the recruitment of outstanding physicians and aggressively built nationally competitive tertiary and quaternary programs which have grown dramatically both in volume and quality.

“Dr. Michael Karpf has, without question, changed the face of health care in Kentucky for the better,” said Dr. Britt Brockman, chair, UK Board of Trustees. “Because of his compassion and unrelenting work ethic, we have made remarkable strides in the last 13 years at UK HealthCare toward transforming that dream into a reality. Now, with Mike’s vision and continued commitment, we will over the next several months, plan how we continue to move forward in ensuring all Kentuckians have access to the best of care from an outstanding academic medical center that exists for the sole purpose of healing Kentuckians facing the gravest of challenges.”

In addition to focusing on advanced subspecialty care on campus, Karpf has also strived to develop strong relationships with community providers by expanding and improving the services they can offer. The culmination of these efforts has been the launching of the Kentucky Health Collaborative, 10 major systems in Kentucky comprising more than 50 hospitals working together to deliver value-based care – producing the best outcomes at the highest level of efficiency.

As a result of these endeavors, UK HealthCare’s outpatient activity has grown dramatically, now exceeding 1.5 million outpatient visits per year. In addition, in 2016, UK has received more than 18,000 patient transfers from other providers compared to 1,000 patient transfers in 2003.

To accommodate this unprecedented growth, Karpf led the charge to develop a replacement hospital, known as the 12-story UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A, which is not only “as technologically advanced as any hospital in the country, it is also an exceptionally empathetic facility – comfortable and comforting for our patients, their families, visitors, and, just as important, for our faculty and staff,” Karpf said.

As of June 2016, 96 percent of the 1.2 million-square foot Pavilion A is occupied or has received approval for finishing out.

Key Accomplishments:

Since 2004, hospital patient discharges have grown by 88 percent and outpatient visits have grown from almost 665,000 to 1.1 million in 2015.

UK HealthCare has grown from a small academic medical center at the 25th percentile of volume to an Academic Medical Center above the 75th percentile.

The need for a replacement hospital was key to being able to provide advanced subspecialty care. When UK HealthCare finishes the projects covered by the $150 million bond issuance the UK Board of Trustees approved in June 2016, Chandler Hospital Pavilion A will be more than 96 percent complete.

Since 2003, UK has invested close to $2 billion for faculty recruitment, program development, technology acquisition, and bricks and mortar. All while remaining financially sound.

In 2003, UK accommodated 1,000 transfers from other facilities; in 2016, UK received more than 18,000 transfers from other providers and because of capacity limits still had to turn away a substantial number of patients. UK HealthCare has become the critical linchpin of the health care system of Kentucky, taking care of patients other providers cannot effectively manage.

UK HealthCare today is a thriving regional referral system with aspirations to become a medical destination and one of the nation’s very best health care providers. The culmination of these efforts at building relationships has been the launching of the Kentucky Health Collaborative, 10 major systems in Kentucky comprising more than 50 hospitals working together to deliver value-based care – producing the best outcomes at the highest level of efficiency.

In 2013, UK HealthCare was recognized with a University Health System Consortium Rising Star Award for Quality Leadership – rocketing from 56th place to a rank of 12th in 2013. This was the largest improvement in rankings in UHC history.

In 2013, Markey Cancer Center received National Cancer Institute designation, the only cancer program in Kentucky to be so designated.

Overall growth in jobs (combining hospital and college) has more than doubled since 2003.

From UK Communications


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