Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services

Phil Cauthon for KHI News Service

The state is seeking a private partner to operate Osawatomie State Hospital under a proposal that would allow the contractor to shift more than half the hospital’s beds to other parts of eastern Kansas.

A request for proposals to operate Osawatomie State Hospital was posted Monday on the Kansas Department of Administration website. It would require a contractor to maintain 206 beds for inpatient mental health treatment but said only 94 would have to be at Osawatomie State Hospital. Any remaining beds would have to be in the hospital’s catchment area, which covers eastern Kansas.

KHI News Service/File photo

The heads of Kansas’ 26 community mental health centers are preparing to push an ambitious set of proposals to address what they say are growing gaps in the state’s behavioral health system.

In addition to restoring funding cuts made prior to the Great Recession, the center directors want Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and lawmakers to expand a network of regional crisis intervention centers.

Phil Cauthon for KHI News Service

Kansas officials are hoping that a pilot program will help relieve pressure on the Osawatomie State Hospital. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the program will provide “transitional care” to some patients being dismissed from the state’s largest mental health hospital.

Officials at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services say there are several patients at Osawatomie who are no longer a danger to themselves or others but who aren’t ready to live independently.

Sedgwickcounty.org

Sedgwick County’s community mental health program Comcare is working to bring services for substance abuse patients into its Community Crisis Center in downtown Wichita.

Renovations to the 24-hour Community Crisis Center on North Main are expected to be complete next week. Then, the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas will move its detox and sobering unit into the building.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio, File Photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback wants Tim Keck to continue running the agency that oversees the state’s aging and disability services. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, Keck has had his hands full since taking the job on an interim basis in January.

Problems at the state’s two mental health hospitals have demanded Keck’s attention since the moment he took the reins at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

Phil Cauthon for KHI News Service

Kansas plans to ask the federal government soon to recertify part of its state mental hospital in Osawatomie, a top social services official said Wednesday, a move that would restore less than half of its lost federal funding.

KDADS

A contract dispute between a state agency and a research center at KU could affect the quality of care at community mental health centers across Kansas.

What appears at first blush to be little more than a contract dispute between a state agency and a University of Kansas research center is actually much more than that.

The state’s failure to renew a contract with the KU Center for Mental Health Research and Innovation is another assault on the state’s mental health system, according to the directors of several community mental health centers.

Courtesy KDADS

Attorney Bill Rein has been named to head the troubled state mental hospital at Larned, in central Kansas. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, the facility has long-standing problems hiring and keeping an adequate workforce.

Interim Secretary Tim Keck, of the Kansas Department on Aging and Disability Services, calls Rein the right person at the right time for the challenges facing Larned State Hospital.

Mabel Lamour/Belma/ReineMab / flickr Creative Commons

Recent cuts made to a program that helps Kansas seniors stay out of nursing homes are starting to have an impact: The cuts are forcing seniors onto waiting lists for services.

The cuts are a small part of about $80 million in reductions Republican Gov. Sam Brownback was forced to make last month. But they’re have a big impact on a program that provides care for seniors, helping them in and out of bathtubs and keeping their apartments clean.

The 11 Area Agencies on Aging that administer the program across the state have started wait-listing seniors.

PHIL CAUTHON, KHI NEWS SERVICE

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback this week signed bills that prevent privatizing troubled state mental hospitals unless lawmakers approve. There have been staff shortages and other issues at the Larned and Osawatomie state hospitals.

Tim Keck, interim secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, has said in the past he wants to at least consider the option of privatizing state hospitals. This week, Brownback was asked by a reporter if privatizing the facilities is a long-term solution for the problems.

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