"We need to help local providers improve... to keep people close to home for as long as possible," Karpf said. "We think this is a wonderful community just far enough from Lexington that you need a first class medical facility."
Clark Regional CEO Bob Fraraccio said the plans for expansion took off in May 2006, but changed when hospital officials asked what would be best for Clark County decades down the road. Rather than looking to build a new facility immediately, the hospital chose to pursue the affiliation with UK and discuss expansion and construction, he said.
Clark Regional will continue with a joint board of CRMC and UK officials. During the next six months, the board will work to define a vision for the facility and its future.
Clark Regional purchased property along the bypass a decade ago, but the site remains empty.
UK did not purchase Clark Regional, as it did with Lexington's Good Samaritan Hospital, but will work with the hospital as an affiliate. Karpf said UK purchased Good Samaritan because UK ran out of room at its hospital.
"Our approach with Clark is very different," Karpf said. "We want to work on expanding services and keeping people in Clark, and only bring high-end patients... onto our campus.
"You do have some gaps and we need to fill those gaps. We do think we will be able to expand the hospital. We will try to make it work."
Karpf said the state's budget situation and cuts to education will not affect the health care side or any pending projects.
Fraraccio said there are no definite plans for expansion or construction at the present hospital or on a new site. Any discussions would be months away, after the board members reach a vision.
The present hospital was completed in 1967 and has 73 active beds but is licensed for 100, Fraraccio said. The time has come for a new hospital, he said.