A DREAM - Until 1963, adequate hospital care meant a journey of 50 to 100 miles over relatively poor roads to Ashland or Lexington. For generations, the people of Northeastern Kentucky had suffered neglect in this regard, forced on them by geographical isolation and lack of financial resources.
In 1948, Dr. Louise Caudill, with her nurse, Susie Halbleib, set up a physician practice in her native Morehead. Visiting patients in their homes and delivering babies occupied much of her time.
Dr. Louise recognized the numerous medical needs of the people of the area. To assure good medical care, Dr. Louise began her crusade to build a hospital in Morehead. Through her leadership and determination, a group of interested citizens met and formed the Northeast Kentucky Hospital Foundation. The hospital concept gained support and gradually many others got involved in raising funds.
In addition to money, there was the need for someone to run the hospital. Dr. Louise’s contact with the Catholic Diocese of Covington resulted in a visit from Monsignor Charles A. Towell. On the day of the visit, Dr. Louise’s office was crowded with mothers, newborns, and family members. Msgr. Towell's heart was touched when he saw the babies lined up on the couch. He contacted the Sisters of Notre Dame in Covington, Kentucky to assist with the construction and the administration of the hospital.
THE DREAM BECAME A REALITY - Groundbreaking on September 29, 1961 marked an event that the local paper declared was second only to the founding of Morehead College. Through the efforts of many, the hospital became a reality and St. Claire Medical Center opened on July 1, 1963. The hospital, sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame, was named after Dr. Claire Louise Caudill. Following the philosophy of the Sisters of Notre Dame and Dr. Louise’s own personal practice, the Medical Center was to focus on people, providing them with quality medical care. Physicians and other staff joined Dr. Louise and the sisters. Through affiliation with the University of Kentucky, specialty services were offered.
TODAY - St. Claire Regional Medical Center is the largest rural hospital in northeastern Kentucky and serves as a 159-bed regional referral center. As a regional referral center, SCR receives referrals from other providers for many of the most serious and complicated health problems including critical/intensive care, advanced diagnostic services, and specialty surgical care - which includes general, cardiac, vascular, urological, gynecological, and orthopedics. SCR also has pulmonology, neurology, interventional cardiology and gastroenterology specialists who provide both inpatient and outpatient services.
Earlier this year on May 2, we broke ground on our new $28 million Medical Pavilion adjacent to the medical center, which will be located at the corner of SCR’s campus near the intersection of Flemingsburg Road and West Second Street. The Medical Pavilion, a three story, 81,000-square-feet facility, is ultimately a consolidation of St. Claire Regional’s Cave Run Surgical Specialists and UK Women’s HealthCare Morehead.
With over 1,200 employees, SCR is the second-largest employer in the region. In addition, St. Claire Regional is an established training site for the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s physician residency programs. SCR’s Medical Staff is comprised of nearly 100 physicians representing 31 medical specialties. SCR averages a half-million patient encounters a year, providing amazing medicine close to home.