Archive for Monday, October 26, 2009

Panel recommends closing Kansas Neurological Institute, downsizing Parsons State Hospital

If approved, commission’s plan also would downsize Parsons State Hospital

October 26, 2009


— A state commission Monday recommended closing the Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka, which serves nearly 160 people with severe developmental disabilities.

If approved, the plan could shut down KNI within three years.

KNI residents would be transferred either to more community- or home-based settings or to Parsons State Hospital under the recommendation.

The measure, approved 7-3 by the Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission, will now go to Gov. Mark Parkinson. If Parkinson approves the recommendation and issues an executive order, the Legislature would have to pass a bill to stop it from going forward.

The plan also calls for downsizing Parsons State Hospital by moving residents into smaller group homes, although it wouldn’t close the hospital.

Supporters of the proposals said it would be better for the residents and save taxpayers’ money.

Parents and guardians of people served at KNI were upset by the commission’s vote.

Ann Perrin Riggs of Topeka is the guardian of a 28-year-old man with severe mental disabilities who lives at KNI. “We’ll see a huge rise in his behavioral problems,” she said, if he is forced to move.

Elizabeth Kinch, a member of the commission, voted to shut down KNI, saying, “Community-based services are superior.”

But Riggs said that was a false assumption. KNI is not an institution in the old sense of the word, she said, but rather has a committed staff and campuslike setting that provides the best care for some people with severe disabilities.

Panel members voting against the recommendation said they feared that moving people out of KNI and Parsons would exacerbate a waiting list of approximately 4,000 people with disabilities who are already waiting for home- and community-based services.

There are currently 158 residents at KNI and 191 at Parsons. State officials estimated $5.7 million could be saved annually by:

• Moving 40 KNI residents to Parsons and the rest to group homes.

• Finding group homes for 62 people who now live at Parsons.

Some commission members also speculated that if the state sold the KNI campus it would yield tens of millions of dollars.


KEITHMILES05 8 years, 3 months ago

Tragic, tragic decision. So many of these patients are in need of 24/7/365 care. How short sighted!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 3 months ago

"Supporters of the proposals said it would be better for the residents and save taxpayers’ money."

How often is that true?

ralphralph 8 years, 3 months ago

The State of Kansas abandons its most helpless citizens. This is a true shame.

kansanbygrace 8 years, 3 months ago

The people who propose this travesty know nothing of the subject, the need, or the options. Their statements must not be confused with reality.

rbwaa 8 years, 3 months ago

"Supporters of the proposals said it would be better for the residents and save taxpayers’ money." ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This is bull s**t. The same problems created with the closing of the state mental hospitals will be created with this plan. Where is the logic or compassion? There are not sufficient resources for "...a waiting list of approximately 4,000 people with disabilities who are already waiting for home- and community-based services." How can we possibly provide appropriate and adequate care for 200-300 more individuals?

Mark Zwahl 8 years, 3 months ago

Folks, consider that there is very little - if anything - done in these institutions that cannot be done by a thoughtful community provider. Also consider that our community is better of with these folks in it, rather than sequestered away where they're never seen. How do I know? I spent over a decade working in these two facilities. The rub is really about the skills and commitments of the community providers. Are they willing to put these people first in their services?

rbwaa 8 years, 3 months ago

I am not opposed to community based care, I am opposed to closing those facilities before adequate resources are created. Putting these people first is exactly what should be done. But how is that possible when it is not being done for the 4,000 individuals already on a waiting list? The resources must be committed before closing these facilities. The notion that community care is less expensive is bogus. More caregivers with adequate, specialized training would be essential along with additional and smaller facilities [group homes]. Otherwise many of these individuals would end up being warehoused in nursing homes ill equipped to provide the compassionate care they deserve.

truman1902 8 years, 3 months ago

MILLIONS of $$$$$$$$$ for the KNI campus???? Sleep well, commission members..Pray that these services that are being used as pawns in this chess game, NEVER have to be accessed by those loved ones in YOUR family. These families whose children have been dealt the cruelest of fates, are now handed the added worry of familiar facilities being pulled out from under them..SAD treatment indeed..Is there any end to the money grubbing in this economy?? Gov. Parkinson should shred this report, take those shreds and dump them on the carpeted office from which it originated!!

Me2 8 years, 3 months ago

sowhatnow, which decade did you work in both facilities? I started working in places like these in the 1960's. The facility in the 1960's yes, I was told to keep them clean & fed. Now 40 years later let's see what is happening. They go to work in the community. They go uptown to the beauty shop or the barber shop. They go the movies, they are probaly sitting next to you & you don't even know it. They go to Royal's games, the Chief's games, KU games, the local juco games, high school games. They chose which resturant they wish to dine in. They go shopping for their own clothing. They have friendships & dates. They go picnics. They join clubs. Go to church of thier choice. I can't think of anything they are "sequestered" away from. They are assisted as much or as little as what they need. I currently work at the Parsons facility. We've come a long way since the "warehouse days".

KATHYLOBB1956 8 years, 3 months ago

I think that people should have the right to live in the community it has work for me for manny years now i own my place in the conunity here in Lawrence

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