Rockcastle Regional Receives Quality Award for the Eleventh Time

By Jana Bray, Community Relations Director on 11/02/2021 8:57 AM

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Rockcastle Regional Receives Quality Award for the Eleventh Time

Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center has received the prestigious Kentucky Hospital Association Quality Award for the eleventh time in the last 17 years the award was presented.

Rockcastle Regional earned the award because of its efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide telehealth, or video visits, for patients needing behavioral health services.

The CDC has reported an increase in mental health issues, as well as an increase of unmet mental healthcare needs, associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The everyday stressors that many people experienced such as social distancing, quarantine restrictions, fear and uncertainty of the unknown and financial loss are all factors that can increase feelings of isolation, loneliness, depression, stress, and anxiety.

“Our focus throughout the pandemic has been on keeping our patients and staff safe,” Rockcastle Regional rural health clinics director Brandy Bullock said. “We quickly realized we needed to find ways to continue providing needed services to our community, particularly as mental health issues became more of a concern for everyone.”

Taking into account the obstacles faced within the local community, Rockcastle Regional embarked on a journey to provide telehealth services through their behavioral health clinic.

Carrie Mullins, Rockcastle Regional’s legal and risk manager, joined forces with the team tasked with rolling out this new service. “We worked to determine the most patient-friendly platform to use, developed policies to ensure patient confidentiality, conducted one-on-one physician and staff training, and launched a patient awareness campaign through social media and other local media outlets,” Mullins said.

“Our team did a remarkable job to develop this new way to provide care to patients in a very short period of time,” Bullock said. “Throughout the program roll-out, our number one goal was to help our patients get access to the care needed, when they needed it, and in an environment where they felt comfortable.”

Launched in March 2019, telehealth has continued to be a hugely popular service to the patient community in both behavioral health and primary care services.  

“Throughout the pandemic, our patients are finding tremendous value in receiving care through telehealth,” Rockcastle Regional counselor Chelsen Larkey, LPCC, said. “We are able to conduct virtual therapy sessions with patients, manage their medications, and meet a variety of other behavioral health needs. The fears of contracting COVID, for many of our patients, would have otherwise, prevented them from getting much needed care.”

The feedback received by patients regarding telehealth has been overwhelmingly positive, and physicians and staff feel the same way. “Through telehealth, we are able to increase patient access to care as well as break down barriers for receiving care and will continue to be an important service we will continue offering our patients,” Bullock said.

“The KHA Quality Award is not easily obtained,” Rockcastle Regional president and CEO Stephen A. Estes said. “That we’ve won it so often over the years speaks to the consistent focus of our physicians and staff on delivering the best possible care. We are proud of the work we have done over the last year and a half in expanding access to behavioral health services during the pandemic and believe we have truly made a difference for our patients and their families.”

The award is presented to honor hospital leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment in patient care. It is also meant as a way to inspire other healthcare organizations to use the winning hospitals’ programs as examples of how to improve their own quality and patient safety efforts.

Before this year, Rockcastle Regional won the KHA Quality Award in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. There was no award presented in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more about the KHA Quality Award, visit

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