The UK HealthCare/Norton Healthcare – Stroke Care Network (SCN) is announcing its 37th affiliate. Paintsville ARH joins the network, expanding access to high-quality stroke care in Eastern Kentucky. With the addition of Paintsville, all Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) hospitals are now affiliates of the SCN.

“I'm so excited for Paintsville ARH to join the rest of our system in membership in Stroke Care Network. Collaboration and partnership with the network have assisted ARH in building stronger systems of stroke care in our service areas of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, and ultimately enabling our teams to deliver high quality stroke care,” said Rachel Jenkins, ARH neuroscience service line director.

Stroke Care Network services are designed to help hospitals provide the highest quality stroke-related clinical care. This mission is supported through comprehensive educational programs for providers, staff, and community members, as well as robust continuous quality improvement. 

“Network affiliation is intended to optimize the care patients receive during the early moments of a stroke, when diagnosis and rapid treatment are most important, and this collaboration supports our mutual mission of keeping as many patients as possible close to home,” said Lisa Bellamy, managing director of the Stroke Care Network.

Kentucky has among the highest rates of stroke-related deaths in the country, with more 2,000 Kentuckians dying from stroke or stroke-related complications each year. Interim medical director of the Stroke Care Network Larry B. Goldstein, M.D., says having another hospital join the network will contribute to the growth of systems of care across the state to improve stroke prevention and emergent treatment and the best possible outcomes for those who have had a stroke.

“The SCN has been very successful, providing not only individualized programs supporting stroke care to hospitals, but education for providers updating them on state-of-the-art treatment approaches and tools for reaching out to their local communities to enhance stroke prevention and acute responses,” said Goldstein, who is also chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Neurology and co-director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute

In 1956, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and thousands of citizens in the coal communities dedicated the Miners Memorial Hospital Association’s (MMHA) facilities. The system’s hospitals were located in Harlan, Hazard, McDowell, Middlesboro, Whitesburg, Pikeville and South Williamson, Kentucky; Man and Beckley, West Virginia; and Wise, Virginia.

By the early 1960s, MMHA announced its intention to close some of the hospitals, and soon after the Board of National Missions formed a new and independent not-for-profit health system Appalachian Regional Hospitals (ARH) that purchased the Miners Memorial Hospitals. The health system changed its name in 1986 to Appalachian Regional Healthcare to more accurately describe its far-ranging services.

Today, ARH operates hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, South Williamson, West Liberty and Whitesburg in Kentucky; as well as Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia.