Letters to the Editor

KNI accountability

April 26, 2011


To the editor:

I am responding to the Journal-World article of April 17, “KNI fights Brownback budget for survival.” The article by Scott Rothschild is accurate about the plight of Kansas Neurological Institute’s residents, guardians and parents. From 1980 to 1989, I was the personnel director and I am well acquainted with its mission. The staff there works hard to help the residents and knows them well.

This facility, as well as other state hospitals, are audited by the state and federal government as to the quality of care and other issues. This aspect of official review is generally overlooked in articles about KNI and other federally subsidized facilities. If the facility closes, so does accountability for its actions. If the state closes the facility, what will become of this aspect?

KDHE will need a larger number of staff to conduct audits on nursing homes and that will require more government and more cost, not less. The secretary of SRS is a governor appointee, so the agency is not independent of the governor or the Legislature. After retirement, I served on the Human Rights Committee of KNI, which oversees any change in a patient’s care. What will happen to this overview of patient care? We really need to consider the welfare of all people involved and solve these problems if possible.


Brock Masters 6 years, 7 months ago

if KNI closes then there is no need for accountability of its actions. Is this a "duh" moment or am I missing something?

Kris_H 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm not certain about community placements in the area of developmental disability, but I can tell you first-hand that some of the community placement facilities for people with psychiatric illness have much lower standards than Topeka State Hospital ever did, at least in the last 25 years it was open.

That's a very good point and definitely needs to be considered, especially since many if not most of KNI's residents have multiple diagnoses and problems, requiring careful monitoring and supervision. I doubt they could be placed in most group homes, for example, where there may be a worse ratio of caretakers to clients than at KNI.

The days are long past when state facilities for developmentally disabled people and/or those with psychiatric illnesses were "institutuions," but unfortunately that's how many people still think of them.

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