Living Well with ARH Foundation for Healthier Communities
Visiting Mary Breckenridge ARH hospital
June 29, 2023
The ARH Foundation for Healthier Communities and the Breckenridge family both enjoyed a visit to the Mary Breckenridge ARH hospital recently. In the early 1920’s, Mrs. Mary Breckinridge moved to rural Leslie County Kentucky with the goal of improving healthcare for the people of Eastern Kentucky. Though her goal was to improve the infant and maternal mortality rates, she did far more than that. Her nurses on horseback and in clinics spread over the mountains provided vaccinations, treated burns, broken bones, fevers, and even gunshot wounds. They were a lifeline of care to a region where healthcare had previously been provided by “granny midwives” and long drives to larger cities in central Kentucky.
Today, Appalachian Regional Healthcare lives the vision of Mrs. Breckinridge by providing decentralized healthcare to one of the poorest regions in the country. Over the past 65 years, ARH has evolved into an integrated healthcare delivery system serving more than 400,000 residents and employing over 6,000 people across Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia with hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, pharmacies, and home durable medical equipment services. ARH’s 14 hospitals range in size from critical-access facilities to the system’s flagship regional medical center with 358-licensed beds in Hazard, Kentucky.
In September of 2011 ARH purchased the Mary Breckinridge Hospital in Hyden, Kentucky. The hospital, which opened in 1975, is still a shining example of Mrs. Breckinridge’s vision and the pride of the local community. The facility showcases the history of Mrs. Breckinridge’s work and impact on the region and serves as a vital part of the community. In fact, residents of the local community excitedly receive the Hospital menu each week and flock to the cafeteria for lunch each day.
Recently, Julia Breckinridge Davis, who is a niece of Mrs. Breckinridge visited the facility for a tour and was impressed by the facility and staff. The legacy of Mrs. Breckinridge is alive and well in Leslie County and across the region, and ARH is proud to be a part of it.
Photo: Mallie Noble, Community CEO and Julia Breckinridge Davis