Topeka A national group said Wednesday that Kansas has improved its system for treating the mentally ill during the past three years but still gave the state a “D” grade.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness released its report card for every state and declared that the nation’s mental health care is “in crisis.” It gave the U.S. a “D” overall.
No state received an “A,” but six received a “B.” Twenty-one states, including Kansas, received a “D.” Neighboring Missouri, like 18 states, received a “C.”
In 2006, the same group gave Kansas an “F.” It said it had improved by establishing a program for identifying best practices and increasing the number of state-supported employment programs for the mentally ill.
But the group said Kansas still has a shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds and community alternatives for treating the mentally ill.
“Even slight progress is welcome, but you can’t applaud too loudly when a grade increases from an ‘F’ to a ‘D’,” said Rick Cagan, the group’s state executive director. “Good work is under way in Kansas on many fronts, but there is a lot more that needs to be done.”
House and Senate negotiators narrowed their differences Wednesday over a bill allowing two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas.
The three senators and three House members had their second day of talks. They’re trying to reconcile different versions of the bill passed by the House and Senate.
Those versions agree on provisions that overturn an October 2007 decision by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ administration to deny an air-quality permit to Sunflower Electric Power Corp. The Hays utility wants to build the two coal-fired plants outside Holcomb, in Finney County.
The two chambers also agree on provisions restricting the Kansas secretary of health and environment’s power to regulate greenhouse gases.
Sebelius is expected to veto the final product, just as she vetoed three similar bills last year.