Osawatomie State Hospital unit passes federal inspection

Osawatomie State Hospital grounds are shown in this file photo from April 8, 2016.

? A 60-bed unit within the Osawatomie State Hospital passed a federal inspection this week “with flying colors,” state officials said, putting the hospital on a path toward recertification by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“We have been waiting for this for a long time,” said Tim Keck, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, the agency in charge of the psychiatric hospital. “This inspection was the result of months and years of hard work by staff and leadership.”

The 146-bed hospital was decertified in December 2015 following a series of inspections that uncovered numerous safety, staffing and patient-care issues at the 150-year-old facility, including the rape of a hospital worker by one of its patients.

Months before that action, Osawatomie State stopped accepting voluntary admissions due to overcrowding shortages, meaning all patients there were involuntary admissions who were being held at the hospital under some type of court order.

As a result of the decertification, the hospital has been ineligible to receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements since that time, costing the state an estimated $1 million each month.

In response, state officials effectively divided the hospital into two facilities: the 60-bed Adair Acute Care unit, which is the portion that the state hopes to recertify; and an 86-bed “licensed” facility that can accept and treat patients but would not receive federal reimbursements.

Keck has also been pursuing the possibility of privatizing the hospital, although many lawmakers have expressed opposition to that idea.

KDADS has been trying for months to get the Adair Acute Care unit recertified. Most recently, that unit failed an inspection in May, which prompted a number of lawmakers to vent their frustration over the lack of progress at the hospital during a recent Legislative Budget Committee meeting.

In a news release Wednesday, KDADS said the hospital would have to undergo at least one more inspection, following what is called a “period of reasonable assurance,” to ensure the improvements in patient care, physical facilities, staffing, processes and procedures are being maintained before the hospital can be recertified.

“We want to keep going forward and continue to improve the treatment being provided to patients,” Keck said in the news release. “We won’t let up; we’ve come too far to slide back.”