about Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital
The Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, a congregation of Catholic sisters, received repeated requests from residents of different parts of Kentucky during the 1950s to open a hospital. In 1953 a group of concerned citizens approached the Bishop of Covington and asked for his help in creating a new hospital that became OLBH.
Construction started in 1952 on a 31-acre tract, four miles from downtown Ashland, KY. At the time, the tract only was accessible by a small dirt road. The official dedication of the hospital took place July 14, 1953 and included a reading of a cablegram from Pope Pius XII. Upon opening, the hospital had 92 beds and 40 bassinets. In March 1956, the road leading to the hospital was blacktopped and during the summer a new highway, U.S. 23, was laid reducing by about one-third the distance from Ashland to the hospital.
In 1999 the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Health System announced plans to disband. In 2000, OLBH was purchased by the Bon Secours Health System, Inc. of Baltimore, MD. OLBH was a perfect fit and shared the spiritual philosophy of Bon Secours. The modern era of OLBH as a member of the Bon Secours Health System has seen unprecedented growth. Examples of such growth include the introduction of the Ashland-area's first sleep lab in 2002, a resident program in 2002 in conjunction with the Pikeville College of Osteopathic Medicine, the launch of the OLBH Mobile Health Center in 2002 and OLBH becoming the first tenant of the former Ashland Inc. headquarters building, which was renamed Bellefonte Centre, home to the OLBH Women’s Center, the OLBH Imaging Center and the OLBH Diabetes & Wound Care Center.
Building on OLBH’s orthopedics reputation, Human Motion OrthoCare opened in September 2008. The unit on the hospital’s fourth floor is dedicated exclusively to the care of orthopedic patients. OLBH purchased the Addington Corporate Center located adjacent to Bellefonte Centre in 2008 and renamed it Bellefonte Pavilion. Bellefonte Pavilion is home to Firm Fitness, one of the area’s premiere fitness facilities.
OLBH’s legacy of caring continues at the facility today. With a proud past, OLBH and its caring staff look confidently toward a future that will build on the hospital’s reputation as a healing ministry intent on providing “good help to those in need.”