Archive for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gov. Sam Brownback defends decision to close Kansas Neurological Institute

Governor-elect Sam Brownback is interviewed in his transitional office at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback will take office as the new governor of Kansas Jan. 10, 2011.

Governor-elect Sam Brownback is interviewed in his transitional office at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback will take office as the new governor of Kansas Jan. 10, 2011.

January 25, 2011


— Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday defended his proposal to shut down the Kansas Neurological Institute, a residential facility that cares for approximately 150 people with profound disabilities.

Under his plan, residents would be moved into community-based housing over a two-year period starting in July.

“No one in KNI is going to be put out on the streets,” said Brownback, who toured the Topeka facility last week.

And he has the support of several groups that advocate on behalf of those with disabilities.

Rocky Nichols, executive director of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, said savings from the more expensive care at KNI would go a long way toward eliminating waiting lists of Kansans with disabilities who need in-home services. Brownback said he could not commit to placing all the money saved from closing KNI into services for those with disabilities.

But Brownback, a Republican, is getting strong push back from members of both parties.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said KNI is serving people who cannot be served elsewhere.

“We are talking about the most vulnerable citizens” who require round-the-clock assistance from trained staff. Nearly 500 people work at KNI. “It’s about the quality of life for people who live there,” Hensley said.

Rep. Joe Patton, R-Topeka, also opposes Brownback’s plan.

“With the investment it would take to replace the services and facilities provided by KNI, I’m not convinced it would save the state money, either immediately or in the long run,” Patton said.


KEITHMILES05 7 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Steve Jacob 7 years ago

He was elected to cut spending, where was he going to do it?

ivalueamerica 7 years ago

Well, it appears he is starting with the disabled, cutting education dollars for disabled youth, closing the only affordable long term chronic care facility in the state of Kansas and next will come early childhood education.

Corporate tax breaks seem to be safe for now though.

Maddy Griffin 7 years ago

KNI has been "downsized" a little more every year for the last 36 years. Since I worked there when my oldest child was a baby. I can't imagine that those who are left would "fit" into community based housing. Not all of their clients will go on to lead productive lives. The ones I worked with never would.I feel for those.

KSManimal 7 years ago

More proof that Brownback has the utmost concern for the sanctity of EVERY human life....right up until they're born. After that, screw 'em (well, screw all of 'em except the rich, white, republican, profess-to-be-heterosexual male ones...).

Randall Uhrich 7 years ago

Typical Republican tactic: Target the people least able to defend themselves from bureaucratic hypocrisy. Pity the 500 employees who'll lose their jobs, and the 150 patients who'll find only insufficient alternatives for care.

funkdog1 7 years ago

NEWSFLASH, Ibroke: Until this recession, most of the poor on food stamps WERE ALSO WORKING.

sr80 7 years ago

you make me want to puke!!! i hope you never have problems,but then only politicians & government workers think like that not the sane populace.

llama726 7 years ago

Do you have any idea how to read? This article has nothing to do with food stamps. Go share your compassion with the rest of the "Christians" in this state.

appleaday 7 years ago

For those of you who don't know, the patients at KNI tend to be the most neurologically devastated children. They have severe, static encephalopathy, often from being born very prematurely or from a severe meningitis or encephalitis as an infant. They tend to have very little, if any, purposeful movements, many have gastrostomy tubes for feeding, tracheostomy tubes so they can breathe, and no hope of ever walking, being toilet trained, having speech, or being able to interact in any meaningful way. They require constant care around the clock every day. Moving them out of a facility like KNI will mean having to have private nursing care in their homes, which is very expensive. No matter where these patients end up, their care is very expensive. So be pro-life and pro-child, Mr. Brownback.

pixle 7 years ago

I worked at KNI with these clients on Honeybee in the early 90's and I can't imagine how any of the individuals I cared for will be cared for in the private sector. It's not possible and it will cost more money in the long run.

If you could see them in their gurneys as most have deformed spines and most are severely disabled. Ponder a 40 year old adult with the mental capacity of a newborn with the inability to do anything, but exist. You need team of dedicated people to do everything for them and it's too much for any family to deal with on a limited financial budget. I don't really know how this is a safe plan for anyone.

Bob Forer 7 years ago

You guys are absolutey right. Despite their profound disabilities, these folks are still human beings. Brownback is treating these people like dogs. How shameful.

Armen Kurdian 7 years ago

Liberals are always so generous when it comes to other people's money. If you lefties are so upset about this, why not donate to the community centers that are going to be taking these folks in? Based on the article, it sounds like these folks are going to be moved off the state rolls into federal programs anyway.

funkdog1 7 years ago

Yeah, and you repugs are quick to use these services when you need them. You know darn good and well that if you were to have a severely disabled child you wouldn't go into bankruptcy to take care of that child. You'd take advantage of whatever services society has so kindly offered you.

booyalab 7 years ago

If I had a severely disabled child I wouldn't let him anywhere near a public disability service.

funkdog1 7 years ago

Spoken like someone who's never had to care for another human being round the clock for an extended period of time.

booyalab 7 years ago

I want you to do something. First, hands off the keyboard. Now scroll up, up, all the way to the top. See that collection of paragraphs that precedes all the comments? It's called an article. This particular one happens to be about a spending cut.

funkdog1 7 years ago

Yeah, except it's not. Because as a few posters have pointed out--one who's actually worked at this particular institution--to remove some people and then try to give them the care they need in a group home or at their family home is likely going to be far more expensive than shutting down KNI.

parrothead8 7 years ago

We already do. Thanks for the suggestion, though. It's nice to see such a caring attitude about others coming from a conservative. I assume that since you suggested it, you also donate to the community centers...or do you NOT care?

thatonedude 7 years ago

If we have to donate to community centers, a lot of people will probably try. Thing is, there's really no telling how effective that will be.

llama726 7 years ago

Move to an island. Then you can be disconnected from society.

Thought: Liberals, too, pay taxes and are affected by tax increases. Thus, liberals are generous when it comes to their money, as well. Oh, sorry. That was logic. I'll try to avoid that, because that doesn't fit neatly into your right-left battle royale.

jessanddaron 7 years ago

Agnostick, Maybe this is one of those utterly non sensical topics for which even they are a little that a stretch?

SDTPlant 7 years ago

Close the KS State institutions. Just transfer the patients to the prisons. Thanks Rochelle Chronister. Oh, we understand. You were only the hatchet woman charged with the closure of the State Hospitals. However, you are now the public face/name for all those now in the KS prison system who weren't successful in community based care. Take heed Brownback. Check out the statistic on the numbers of mentally ill now in prisons. What's the cost?

Trim the fat. Give up your cushy retirement. Put it back into the system. Over the rest of your lifetime, it'll help fund some of the programs you are contemplating cutting. Call all your cronies in DC. Tell them to do the same. It'll be a lesson in humility for all of you.

Don Whiteley 7 years ago

Has anyone actually visited KNI? This is a place where disabled children are placed and forgotten by their families. Not one single child in this facility even has the slightest hope of a cure or rehabilitation. Local care is likely to be just as expensive, but places them closer to their families who need to remain involved in their care.

However, if we want to really save money, lets kill the liberal think tanks who keep coming up with more and more creative ideas of how to bury us deeper and deeper in debt. Cut costs, increase taxes, or allow our governments to go insolvement: there are simply no other options.

llama726 7 years ago

Another "liberals are the problem" post. Good work.

usnsnp 7 years ago

I read theis coments about cutting benifits, social services, welfare, unemployment and so forth. Either the people that say we dont need any of these services are rich or they live in a dream world. If they are so against why do they not give up their right to Social Security, Medicare, and other emergency benifits that the State and Federal Government provides. I bet that Governor Brown has not given up any of these benifits, plus he is receving Retirement benefits that most of us will never see.

verity 7 years ago

Like I said on another thread: Penny wise and pound foolish.

Getting people out of institutions is a good move if the people can function in the community. Many have jobs, which makes their lives better because they can socialize and feel like they are accomplishing something and contributing to society.

However, with people who can't function on their own, it is only shifting the cost, and in this case it quite likely will mean more costs. And once this facility is shut down, it will be expensive to reopen it or to open another one.

Whatever your moral feelings are, these sorts of cuts just do not make financial sense. I certainly did not vote for Brownback, but I was hoping he would do a good job. Unfortunately, it doesn't look too good so far.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

LIBERAL--> Given or provided in a generous and openhanded way (~a meal). Jesus was a Capricorn.

We kill Sperm whales too! ......right on usnsnp!

what is a brownback?....2... much time in the sun?

P b2 G

pace 7 years ago

Sam Brownback will move persons to community facilities, which will be bled trying to serve people they do not have the services to serve. It will end up with dead people and hurting the organizations and population they could successfully serve. If Brownback had an hones bone in his body he would say "this will save money because people will die".

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Corp tax breaks and corp tax abatements,rebates and other tax incentives are perfectly safe.

Brownback is offering tax abatements to people if they will move into the state of Kansas...

KCMO did a similar offer on their new downtown condos and lofts. 25 year tax dollar give away. Some folks got lucky. That incentive however got cut shortly after it was underway.

Arana 7 years ago

Yes, Tom, and you are doing nothing to fan the flames at all... no siree. Jeepers creepers, you'd think that the entirety of Lawrence was occupied by elementary grade children. Liberals and Conservatives included. To have a civil conversation both sides must remain so. That means snide remarks and personal stabs are out. This means that neither of you are better than the other. Don't try to say that neither of you were trying to imply that you were, it would be a blatant lie.

William Weissbeck 7 years ago

If history shows anything it is that promises of community based services are an illusion. Most communities/counties simply don't have the resources. It is a back handed way to move funding from the state to the local level to pass the buck. And many locales face community opposition to the zoning changes required for the facilities. A state leads - it does not defer.

Ken Lassman 7 years ago

The bizarre thing about Brownback's proposal was that it was not needed at all. Parkinson had reviewed the closure commission report that suggested that a timetable be set up to close KNI, and he rejected it after visiting KNI, Parsons and community facilities. He said that all 3 were extremely competent, effective operations, and that the only reasonable way to proceed to protect the folks who live at Parsons and KNI was to throw out the lockstep pace of community placement suggested by the closure commission of 7 people/month. Instead, he suggested that parents and guardians visit community facilities, voluntarily select placement if, when, and where supports are adequate, then in 3 years, decide which, if either facility has downsized enough to go ahead and be closed. In other words, placement criteria was going to be the guiding force instead of some arbitrary timetable.

In other words, reason and compassion became the guiding principles, and this seemed to be a satisfactory way to proceed for all parties. Why did Sam Brownback decide to upset the apple cart all over again? My guess is that someone didn't do their homework. The end result is that it looks like a person-centered process is being replaced by a dollars and cents process, and regardless of how the Brownback spin doctors twist it, he will be seen as riding roughshod over those who are the least able to speak for themselves. Will he be man enough to admit that he made a mistake? I'm not holding my breath.

wastewatcher 7 years ago

Why am I not surprised that ULTRA LIBERAL HENSLEY from Topeka whines about the closure while he draws two paychecks from the public coffers and most of his family members are also on the public dole. This ULTRA LIBERAL believes in taking care of himself and his family first.

imagainstit 7 years ago

Brownback Christian/Catholic/whatever believes that his higher power will destroy the earth by fire and send anyone who disagrees with it to eternal suffering and damnation. There is no debate, left right liberal conservative. Suffering and judgement are his higher power. Let's all just shut up, get sick, and die. Amen

barlowtl 7 years ago

Has the Governor or any of you posting here had an apportunity to visit KNI and see for yourself? Then affter you stop crying for these folks, sit down & decide what should be done for them. Do you honestly believe we can take care of them in the community when we can't even look after those whose illness can be controlled by meds? If you truly believe there is a God & claim to be pro life, then you must have a hard time looking in the mirror or sleeping at nite if you let them do this. Bring your signs & your shouts & speak out for these who have no one to speak for them, then I may believe you are truly pro life.

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