It is with the deepest sadness that the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH) must share that KORH Director Ernie Scott unexpectedly passed away Sunday, March 12, 2023, at his home in Partridge, Ky.

Scott served as KORH Director for 11 years and touched the hearts, minds, and lives of countless people across the state in that time. He served as principal investigator for Kentucky’s State Offices of Rural Health Program (SORH), Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex), Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP), Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program (KSLRP), and National Health Service Corp (NHSC) promotion project. He also served as editor for The Bridge magazine. He brought over 20 years of valuable rural health care experience to the KORH, ranging from clinic to hospital to academic settings.

As a Midway College graduate, Scott actually began his career in health care as a radiologic technologist, but his passion for helping people led him ultimately to his position at the KORH. He has had an immense impact on the work the KORH and UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health has done for rural health in Kentucky as well as across the country during his tenure.

"I have received many phone calls, emails, and text from across Kentucky and national colleagues expressing their sadness and gratitude of the partnerships and assistance Ernie has provided over the years," said Frances Feltner, DNP, director of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health. "Each state has a State Office of Rural Health director, and Ernie set the example to follow."

Chris Salyers, DHSc, director of programs and evaluation at the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, said that “in his decade with the Kentucky Office of Rural Health, Ernie worked tirelessly to support rural communities in his state and beyond. His passion for rural health extended beyond his role as the SORH director, volunteering his time" on many boards and advisory committees.

"There was always a seat at Ernie’s table for anyone who wanted to make this world a better place," he continued. "He was known for his quiet demeanor, his thoughtful comments, his well-timed humor, his humility, and above all else – his kindness."

Visitation and funeral arrangements can be found by going to