Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Agreement for Mental Health Facility to Replace Eastern State

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, August 22, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Gwenda Bond

Patients deserve “most modern setting we can provide,” Governor says

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board have reached a $1 million agreement to cover planning and design for the new mental health facility that will replace aged Eastern State Hospital.

“This agreement will bring us substantially closer to realizing the goal of constructing a new, state-of-the-art Eastern State Hospital that will better serve Kentuckians,” said Governor Fletcher, speaking at a news conference on the grounds of the current facility in Lexington. “Our citizens with mental illness deserve the best treatment available, in the most modern setting we can provide. The state’s partnership with the Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board ensures that this vision will become a reality.”

Bluegrass CEO Joe Toy applauded the agreement. “The Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board and all of our staff believe this important agreement will impact the lives of those we serve in many positive ways for years to come,” Toy said.

The agreement covers fiscal year 2008 and provides for the state and Bluegrass to work together on acquiring a site, planning and designing a new hospital and establishing a timeline for the project. Legal, legislative and funding issues related to replacing Eastern State Hospital also will be studied during this year.

Eastern State Hospital has existed in some form at its current location on South Fourth Street in Lexington since 1824. The facility has three primary treatment buildings – one built in the 1800s and two in the 1950s. It serves an average of 150 patients per day and has about 400 round-the-clock staff.