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Board chairman Lambert receives honor

The Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA) presented several awards during the Association’s Awards Luncheon on May 19, at the 88th Annual KHA Convention in Lexington. KHA’s Health Care Governance Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who have had a positive and sustainable impact on the quality of care in their community, was presented to Former Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, board chair of Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center in Mount Vernon.

Serving as the board chair of Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center, Joseph Lambert has given decades of service to the organization, the local and regional community, and to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“I am honored by this award from the hospital association,” Lambert said. “I have been privileged to serve with many other board members, physicians, and members of the hospital staff. They have been, and continue to be, the most dedicated people I have ever known.”

Elected to the Supreme Court of Kentucky in 1986, he served the people of Kentucky as a justice for 22 years. In 1998, he became Kentucky’s fourth chief justice by a majority vote of his fellow justices and was subsequently elected to two additional four-year terms as chief justice. During his tenure, he focused on implementing cutting-edge programs throughout the Commonwealth. Justice Lambert counts among his most significant accomplishments the 2002 passage of the amendment that made Family Court a permanent part of the Kentucky Constitution.

A native of Rockcastle County, Lambert has been steadfast in his support of his local community through his involvement and leadership in various civic organizations. Following in his father’s footsteps, he has served on the board of directors at Rockcastle Regional Hospital since 1988, and was elected chair in 1989.

During his time as chair, the hospital has seen tremendous growth as a regional health care provider and as a well-known leader in community outreach. Beginning with 32 ventilator care beds, and with multiple expansions through the years, the organization will soon become the largest freestanding ventilator-dependent facility in the nation when it opens its newest addition of 28 beds this spring, bringing the total to 121 beds. The Respiratory Care Center has become nationally renowned for this specialized patient population. Accepting pediatric and adult patients from across the Commonwealth and extending to 28 states, Rockcastle Regional has remarkable success with weaning mechanically ventilated patients with an average wean rate of 40 percent.

However, growth has not only been experienced within the Respiratory Care Center. In 1998, a state-of-the-art medical arts complex opened, bringing more than 40 health care specialties to the community. An Outpatient Services Building was added in 2007 and in 2014 a 32,000 square-foot facility, which supports two primary care clinics and a general surgery practice, opened. These efforts significantly increased access to primary and specialty care for patients throughout the region.

Joint Commission accredited since 1999, Rockcastle Regional has also received national recognition for ventilator care and received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Excellence in Patient Care Award from the Studer Group and eight KHA Quality Awards.

It is the strong dedication of individuals like Joseph Lambert that make such accomplishments possible and demonstrate the dedication the KHA Governance Award honors.

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