Gov. Beshear talks second chances

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 24, 2024

Makes four stops in the Ashland area on Tuesday

RUSSELL, Ky. — On Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear made several stops in Boyd and Greenup County, including a stop to cut a ribbon on the ARC Bellefonte Hospital and Recovery Center in Russell, Kentucky.

ARC opened in November with 40 beds in their acute psychiatric facility, which is in the former Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital. It serves patients from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

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Beshear said it was about second chances.

He said the former OLBH property was the perfect spot as an example of second chances. He had been governor for less than three months when the state got notice that the hospital would be closing and the area would be losing hundreds of jobs in a community that needed them. He added there are now more healthcare jobs in the region but there was still a facility left empty.

“Today we are celebrating a second chance for Bellefonte hospital which will now spend its second chance providing second chances,” Beshear said. “It is going to be a special place.”

Beshear used the event to reveal a study that showed Kentucky had more beds for patients than other state in the U.S. with 70.34 per beds per 100,000, more than twice as Ohio, which has 31.23 beds per 100,000 or West Virginia, which has 30.08 per 100,000.

“We are celebrating being number one in the country in adult mental health services. We are celebrating being number one in the country per capita with treatment beds which means there are more resources for our people when they are suffering than anywhere else,” Beshear said. “It means we are truly living out our faith and our values that say second chances aren’t just the right thing to do, they are the thing we are called to do.”

He said this is the first time that anyone who is ready for help can get it across Kentucky regardless of cost.

“There is funding and there is a bed for every single Kentuckians who needs it,” Beshear said.

ARC will eventually have 300 beds in the psychiatric unit. It will soon open up a substance abuse treatment facility on the property.

OLBH closed in April 2020 after 70 years of serving the Tri-State area.

The governor had a busy schedule on Tuesday as he also made stops at two Pathways facilities and Ashland Community and Technical Center in the EastPark Industrial Park in Greenup County.