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Best Hospitals in Kentucky: Most Affordable Hospitals

April 7, 2014
Health, Medical Costs
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For the fifth year in a row, Kentucky in 2013 had one of the two lowest scores in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The state is also ranked 45th in the United States for overall health by the United Health Foundation. To improve their health, Kentucky residents must know where they can find high quality, affordable health care.

NerdWallet Health built a Best Hospitals tool to help patients investigate the cost of hospital care in their local areas. Using this data, we analyzed the 100 most common treatments at the 50 largest hospitals in Kentucky to find the most affordable hospitals. We asked the following questions:

1) Which Kentucky hospitals offer the highest number of affordable treatments, and where are they located?

2) What are these treatments?

3) How satisfied are patients of these hospitals?

The Most Affordable Hospitals in Kentucky

1. Hardin Memorial Hospital—Elizabethtown, Ky.

This 300-bed regional health care center opened in 1954, and serves the residents of Hardin County and 10 surrounding counties. Hardin Memorial is a nonprofit, acute care hospital with more than 230 physicians, some 2,600 employees and 175 volunteers. It recently became an affiliate of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, among the select group of cancer centers to be designated by the National Cancer Institute and the only one with the honor in Kentucky. Hardin Memorial is accredited by the Joint Commission and has a patient satisfaction rating of 65%. It offers affordable treatments for asthma and heart pacemaker implantation.

2. Pineville Community Hospital—Pineville, Ky.

Pineville Community hospital opened in 1938 with five physicians and 40 beds. It has since grown to more than 11 physicians and 150 beds. Affordable treatments include those for heart rhythm disorder and bladder infection, and there are services in a wide range of specialties, including cardiology, orthopedic surgery and laparoscopic gastric banding. Pineville Community is accredited through the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, and has a patient satisfaction rating of 72%.

3. Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center—Danville, Ky.

This nonprofit hospital earned four Gold Seals of Approval for health care excellence from the Joint Commission, which also named it one of the nation’s top performers on key quality measures. EMRMC also has a 67% patient satisfaction rating. The hospital serves Boyle County and its surrounding counties, with 222 beds and centers for cancer care, diabetes and endocrinology, and pediatrics. Affordable care options include those for shingles and appendicitis.

4. Monroe County Medical Center—Tompkinsville, Ky.

Monroe County Medical Center is one of Monroe County’s largest employers, with approximately 240 employees. This rural, acute care hospital has 49 licensed beds, is accredited by the Joint Commission and carries a patient satisfaction rating of 66%. The hospital offers affordable care for tuberculosis and acute heart attack, and offers a range of services, including cardiopulmonary care, occupational and speech therapy and radiology.

5. Baptist Health Richmond—Richmond, Ky.

This nonprofit acute care hospital, formerly known as the Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center, has served Madison and the surrounding counties for more than a century. It employs approximately 70 physicians and medical specialists, with specialties including family practice, cardiology, pediatrics and urology. Patients come to Baptist Health seeking affordable care for stroke and emphysema. The hospital has 105 beds and a patient satisfaction rating of 64%.

6. Owensboro Medical Health System—Owensboro, Ky.

Owensboro Medical Health System traces its roots to 1863, when plans were made for a hospital in Owensboro. Since then it has grown from having 12 rooms for patients to a 477-bed hospital serving nine counties in western Kentucky and two in southern Indiana. Owensboro Medical has departments for cancer care, gastroenterology and neurosciences and stroke, and offers affordable treatment for internal bleeding and spinal fusion. The Joint Commission named it a top performer on key quality measures, HealthGrades has ranked it in the top 5% for clinical excellence five years in a row, and the hospital has a 71% patient satisfaction rating.

7. T.J. Samson Community Hospital—Glasgow, Ky.

T.J. Samson Community Hospital is an acute care facility with 196 beds. It is designated as a Pathway to Excellence hospital for excellence in nursing, is accredited by the Joint Commission and was the first Planetree affiliate in Kentucky, offering a holistic approach to medicine. Affordable treatments include those for hip or thighbone surgery and fluid in the lungs, and there are centers for cancer care, intensive care and family care. The hospital in 2013 opened the T.J. Health Pavilion, housing outpatient services, physicians’ offices and a walking track. Patient satisfaction is rated at 66%.

8. Saint Joseph East—Lexington, Ky.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Saint Joseph East the eighth-best hospital in Kentucky and designates it as high-performing in orthopedics. The 217-bed community hospital offers maternal and child care, cardiovascular services and 24-hour emergency care, and affordable treatment is available for angioplasty and disk surgery. Specialty services include breast care, sleep care and weight loss surgery. Saint Joseph East has a 74% patient satisfaction rating, and its cancer rehabilitation services earned the first STAR Program certification in Kentucky.

9. Baptist Health La Grange—La Grange, Ky.

This acute care hospital serves residents of Oldham, Henry, Trimble, Carroll and eastern Jefferson counties with 120 beds and affordable care for kidney damage and kidney infection. It offers a wide range of other services, including 24-hour emergency care, intensive/critical care, women’s health and cardiopulmonary care. In 2012 it earned the Press Ganey Associates’ Top Improver Award for showing steady improvement for the previous two years. It was also named one of the best places to work in Kentucky in 2013, and has a patient satisfaction rating of 70%.

10. Saint Joseph Hospital—Lexington, Ky.

Saint Joseph Hospital was Lexington’s first hospital, founded in 1877. Now it offers 433 beds, an award-winning heart institute and innovative technology such as robotic surgery. Other services offered include emergency, orthopedics and breast and cancer centers, and there is affordable treatment for severe anemia and diagnostic cardiac catheterization. The hospital boasts a 75% patient satisfaction rating, and its wound center was recognized by the National Healing Corporation for its high standard of care.


Ranking Hospital Name Location Most Affordable for Common Diagnoses/Treatments Such As: Patient satisfaction
1 Hardin Memorial Hospital Elizabethtown Asthma, heart pacemaker implantation 65%
2 Pineville Community Hospital Pineville Heart rhythm disorder, bladder infection 72%
3 Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center Danville Shingles, appendicitis 67%
4 Monroe County Medical Center Tompkinsville Tuberculosis, acute heart attack 66%
5 Baptist Health Richmond Richmond Stroke, emphysema 64%
6 Owensboro Medical Health System Owensboro Internal bleeding, spinal fusion 71%
7 T.J. Samson Community Hospital Glasgow Surgery to hip or thigh bone, fluid in the lungs 66%
8 Saint Joseph East Lexington Angioplasty, disk surgery 74%
9 Baptist Hospital La Grange La Grange Kidney damage, kidney infection 70%
10 Saint Joseph Hospital Lexington Severe anemia, diagnostic cardiac catheterization 75%


Affordability: Using CMS Medicare Provider Charge Data, we first determined the 50 largest hospitals in Kentucky (of 65 total) by calculating the total number of Medicare patient discharges per year. We then calculated which of these 50 has the lowest price for each of the 100 most common medical procedures, and then summed the number of times that each hospital had the lowest price. The data are for services billed for Medicare patients.

Procedures/diagnoses: For the procedures that each hospital was least expensive, we presented the most commonly known.

Patient satisfaction: Patient satisfaction rates were obtained from HCAHPS, a nationally administered survey on patient satisfaction. “Satisfied” was taken to be patients who reported, “I would definitely recommend this hospital” on this survey.

Hospital characteristics: Individual hospital websites and U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals.

Kentucky flag image via Shutterstock.