Topeka Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday issued an executive order to set up a commission that will consider closing a number of state facilities, such as the state’s hospitals for Kansans with developmental disabilities.
“In these unprecedented economic times, we must examine all state operations to determine if savings can be realized by suspending, merging or streamlining programs,” Sebelius said in a prepared statement.
Because of falling tax revenues, the state faces a $186 million budget deficit.
“Ultimately, Kansans will benefit if quality services can continue with a more efficient delivery system, and if we have the resources needed for critical safety net programs,” she said.
The order sets up the Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission.
The 11-member commission will make recommendations to Sebelius and the Legislature for consideration in the 2010 legislative session.
The executive order says that facilities to be considered for possible closure or realignment include Kansas School for the Deaf, Kansas School for the Blind, Beloit Juvenile Correctional Facility, state developmental disability hospitals, and the Rainbow Mental Health Facility.
The order says other facilities also may be considered.
The two disability hospitals have an average daily census of 358 people and operating budgets totaling approximately $53 million per year. The two hospitals are the Parsons State Hospital & Training Center and Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka.
The Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, Kan., has an average daily census of 50 patients
Sebelius will appoint five members to the commission while legislative leaders will pick the remaining six members.
Sebelius announced she has selected Rochelle Chronister of Neodesha as the chairwoman of the commission. Chronister is a former secretary of Social and Rehabilitation Services, and former state House member.