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Baptist Health Paducah to celebrate 60th anniversary

Baptist Health Paducah will celebrate its 60th anniversary and welcome its seventh president at a reception 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, in the Heart Center auditorium.

Bill Brown became Baptist Health’s new west regional executive for Paducah and Madisonville Sept. 3 and assumed the presidency of Baptist Health Paducah Oct. 4, following Larry Barton’s retirement.

He has been a hospital and healthcare system leader for more than 35 years, including 20 in Louisville and most recently in the Chicago suburbs.

Brown is the seventh president to serve Baptist Health Paducah since it opened Oct. 21, 1953.

The vision for the hospital – then Western Baptist – began in 1945 when the Rev. George Phillips organized a committee to build a Baptist hospital. Groundbreaking took place three years later, but construction stopped from 1950 to 1952 when money ran out. The community responded, much of it with quarters and dimes from bake sales and car washes; and the $1.3 million facility opened in 1953 with 117 beds, two operating rooms, a pharmacy and lab.

Today, the hospital is a 349-bed regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states with more than 1,700 employees and 260 physicians. Earlier this year, the Paducah hospital and sister hospitals throughout Kentucky changed their names to Baptist Health. The system, headquartered in Louisville, is one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in Kentucky.