NEWS RELEASE – March 23, 2022

ARC announces grants to create jobs, enhance healthcare in Eastern Kentucky


March 23, 2022HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) – The ARH Advanced Care long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) are set to open in Pike and Perry counties in 2022.

The projects have been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to purchase equipment.



These facilities are designed for patients with medical conditions requiring highly specialized care for more than 25 days.



Russ Barker has been named President and CEO of the new ARH Advanced Care hospitals and will direct the day-to-day operations of the LTACHs.



Officials with ARH said the facilities will bring a much needed service to Eastern Kentucky that patients currently must be transported to other areas of the state to receive.



The closest LTACHs to the Advance Care Big Sandy region are located in Huntington and Charleston, WV, and officials with ARH said those facilities are typically at full capacity.



The closest LTACHs to Hazard are in Corbin and Lexington where bed availability is also limited.



“Currently, there [are] no services like this in our service area,” Barker said. “So, patients and their families are having to travel greater than an hour and a half in any direction to get these services.”



Barker added that having family and other support element nearby can help the patients trajectory long-term.



”The families being involved in the care that [the patients] are receiving while they’re in our facilities, it’s going to help facilitate recovery when they go home and long recovery.” he said.



Part of a $13 million project, the 11,000 square foot, 25-bed ARH Advanced Care, Big Sandy LTACH will be located at Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center in South Williamson. The 25-bed, nearly 16,000 square-foot ARH Advanced Care, Kentucky River LTACH will be located in converted space on the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center campus.



The award is part of a $21 million package supporting projects that serve coal-impacted counties through ARCs POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative.



“I commend the ARH Advanced Care board for innovating and collaborating to grow opportunities for people in their own community and neighboring communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Partners like ARH Advanced Care are integral to making our POWER projects come to life, and I look forward to seeing the ways our Appalachian Region continues to grow, thanks to the impact of their work.”



Additional ARC POWER grants were awarded to Kentucky and recently announced by Representative Hal Rogers.



The Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC) received $1.5 million for the Success Imitative at the Work Ready Training Center (WRTC) in Cumberland, Kentucky.



The Leadership Kentucky Foundation, Inc. received $500,000 for BRIGHT Kentucky: Nurturing & Sustaining BRIGHT Entrepreneurs.



”We just see so much excitement and wonderful things happening in Eastern Kentucky.” said Janice Sword Way, the President of Leadership Kentucky. “This next generation of leaders are going to be the ones to fulfill it and make it happen.”



Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc. in Somerset, Kentucky received $1.2 million for the Kentucky Wildlands Regional Tourism Initiative.



“These four investments will have a far reach across southern and eastern Kentucky, creating 280 new jobs, preparing 630 students for college credentials or diplomas, and building a stronger region with better healthcare, a better workforce, more tourism opportunities, and preparing the next generation of leaders,” said Congressman Rogers, a longtime advocate and protector of the commission. “I applaud the ARC for continuing to invest in projects that are revitalizing our communities and paving the way for a brighter future in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.”



ARC is accepting applications in response to its POWER 2022 Request for Proposals. Letters of Intent (LOI) for implementation grants up to $1.5 million and planning grants up to $50,000 under POWER are due April 4, 2022. The deadline for final applications is April 29, 2022. Award announcements are anticipated to be made in the fall of 2022. Additional information regarding the application process is available at



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