Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2017

State officials hope to replace, privatize Osawatomie State Hospital

Tim Keck, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, says he will ask Kansas lawmakers next year to approve a plan to hand over operations of the troubled Osawatomie State Hospital over to a private, for-profit company.

Tim Keck, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, says he will ask Kansas lawmakers next year to approve a plan to hand over operations of the troubled Osawatomie State Hospital over to a private, for-profit company.

August 30, 2017

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— State officials in Kansas began laying out their case Wednesday for why they think the state should replace the aging and troubled Osawatomie State Hospital with a new facility and hand over management of the facility to a for-profit, out-of-state corporation.

Tim Keck, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which manages the psychiatric hospital, said the hospital has become too challenging for the state to manage, and it is time for the state to make a decision.

"We are at a point that we need to address Osawatomie once and for all," Keck said during a Statehouse news conference. "It’s been problematic for the state for a long time — a long time before I took the job; a long time before the governor came into office. For a long time, we’ve needed to address this as a state."

Tim Keck, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, says he will ask Kansas lawmakers next year to approve a plan to hand over operations of the troubled Osawatomie State Hospital over to a private, for-profit company.

Tim Keck, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, says he will ask Kansas lawmakers next year to approve a plan to hand over operations of the troubled Osawatomie State Hospital over to a private, for-profit company.

The hospital that sits just south of the Kansas City metropolitan area has been in operation since 1866. Although the original buildings on the campus are now gone, many of those that stand today date back to the first half of the 20th century. The newest was built in the 1980s.

Today, the hospital suffers from a number of problems, the biggest of which are staff shortages and inadequate facilities. Although it is licensed for a little more than 206 beds, the hospital was forced to cut back in 2015 because of overcrowding, and it now limits its patient population to around 150 beds.

In 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decertified Osawatomie State, citing a number of factors affecting patient care and staff safety. That action came shortly after a female worker at the hospital was raped by one of the patients.

Keck, who took over as KDADS secretary in August 2016, said his agency has taken several steps to address the deficiencies, and he said one unit within the hospital, a 60-bed unit called the Adair Acute Care facility, is on track to regaining Medicare certification within the next few months.

Over the long term, however, Keck said large parts of the Osawatomie State campus need to be replaced, and he said a private company with experience in managing such facilities would be better suited to run the hospital than the state of Kansas.

Keck said KDADS has been working with a Nashville-based company, Correct Care Solutions, which also manages state psychiatric facilities in several other states.

The current plan being discussed, he said, would be to demolish several aging and obsolete buildings on the campus and replace them with a new facility that could house up to 210 patients. That would be in addition to the 60 beds in the Adair Acute Care unit that officials hope to recertify.

That would bring the total capacity up to 270 beds, something that would come as a relief to local facilities like Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, where officials have been complaining for months about the length of time it takes for space to open up at Osawatomie so that psychiatric patients can be transferred there.

One of the big issues for lawmakers, however, will be the cost. Keck estimated the cost of demolition and new construction could run as high as $175 million, which would need to be financed either by issuing new state bonds or by entering a lease-purchase agreement.

Meanwhile, the state would still need to make regular appropriations to pay Correct Care for operation of the hospital.

State Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, noted that the state's efforts to privatize its Medicaid program, now known as KanCare, has led to a host of problems, and she questioned how a for-profit hospital could operate a state psychiatric institute properly while still producing a return for its shareholders.

A spokesman for Correct Care, however, said that over the years, the company has found numerous ways to provide care in a state hospital setting more efficiently, reducing both direct costs and exposure to legal liability.

Keck noted that the administration will need legislative approval before it can enter into any contract with a private company, the result of a proviso inserted into the budget bill lawmakers passed this year.

He said the agency plans to seek legislative approval during the 2018 session. He also said that Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who in all likelihood will be governor by that time, has endorsed the concept of privatizing the hospital.

Comments

Lynn Grant 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Privatize Osawatomie. Yeah right, that is the answer. Just look how well KanCare has worked.

Paul Beyer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

As long as the stupid Kansas voters keep electing any idiot with an R after their name on the ballot, this is what we get.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

There was a time when LJW made a pretense of maintaining a civil atmosphere on this site. They appear to have abandoned that strategy when people like Paul can go straight to personal insults in most of his posts.

Bob Summers 1 month, 2 weeks ago

He's a congenital Liberal. They can say and do what they want.

ANTIFA!!

Richard Neuschafer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The Bob's think that Rush Limbaugh is an oracle of wisdom, and using his hairbrained insults are effective. Quite a number of us aren't so gullible.

Bob Forer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Aww, snowflake.... Were your feelings hurt?

Carol Bowen 1 month, 2 weeks ago

This has become a standard practice. Neglect a building or service long enough to demonstrate need. Then, contract it. The end justifies the means.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

They're going to need a lot more beds to care for all the mentally disturbed posters on this site.

Joe Blackford II 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Bob Smith 2 hours, 12 minutes ago

"There was a time when LJW made a pretense of maintaining a civil atmosphere on this site. They appear to have abandoned that strategy when people like Paul can go straight to personal insults in most of his posts."

a What's Left-of-Lenin Poster dedicated to the mind of B. Smith

a What's Left-of-Lenin Poster dedicated to the mind of B. Smith by Joe Blackford II

1 month, 2 weeks ago

"company has found numerous ways to provide care in a state hospital setting more efficiently, reducing both direct costs and exposure to legal liability.".....such as?

Larry Sturm 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The republican myth that privatizing state run institutions is false. It only costs the taxpayers more in the long run.

Bob Summers 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Look no further than the VA hospitals to prove you wrong.

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Reducing the VA budget put the vets in harms way of radical politicians because the VA needs a substantial budget to care for vets.

Instead VA budget dollars have been applied to the cost of tax breaks for the few...... in addition to borrowing big dollars from Wall Street banks. Supply Side = economics hard at work.

Phillip Chappuie 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Condemning name calling with name calling is always a good strategy. Just like letting a service and support dwindle to nothing, under-funded and defer its maintenance then claim it no longer works. KanCare has been no good for anyone except the three MCO's. And they still pick away to deny service and expand revenues.

Richard Neuschafer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The Brownback administration has gone out of their way to screw up Oswatomie so that they can turn it over to their fat cat contributors to make a buck off of. it's nothing more than greed.

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Yes selling off state and federal services to private profiteers with tax dollars still in tact thus a GUARANTEED PROFIT system. And services will go to hell and the bill will go up. Big salaries and increased cost will inundate we taxpayers.

These ALEC party politicians are always bitching about taxes yet ALEC politicians do everything possible to say on tax dollar payrolls and their profiteer bank rollers are still funding their campaigns with DARK MONEY and stealing our tax dollars for their personal gain.

Taxpayers best give themselves a chance for economic rehabilitation by not voting phoney republicans into office.

Republicans need to wake up and realize these people they are voting for are not republicans. How about radical fascist libertarians?

United States of ALEC – Bill Moyers http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

ALEC Subversive Activity http://www.rightwingwatch.org/report/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-in-state-legislatures/#Voter

ALEC – The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in State Legislatures http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Let's look at the private sector. Health care for instance. At one time drug companies weren't allowed to advertise their drugs (mean old regulations). Now they can. Do you think the CEO donates his salary for those commercials that are everywhere all the time? No, you pay for them.

Let's look at the for profit hospitals. Sure they have done some good things, like make all hospitals make themselves more comfy. But they have to make a profit. Who pays for that profit? You pay for these profits. And all those comfy chairs and single rooms cost money. And look how quick they have to get you out of those rooms, so they can make money.

Look at the private rehab centers who advertise on TV. Really plush places, but you better be rich or have insurance. And look what private sector rehabs have done to Florida. https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/drug-rehab-scams-are-fueling-overdoses-in-florida-officials-say-974914627532

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

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