Letter to the editor: Running a hospital

To the editor:

The news about a new mental health hospital caught my attention. It is long overdue, but is it good decision-making to use an out-of-state for-profit corporation to manage it?

The corporation being considered to manage the hospital began as a private contractor for prisons, and it and companies like it are looking for new markets such as state hospitals. A report on the internet telling about it, “Incorrect Care: A Prison Profiteer Turns Care into Confinement,” should be recommended reading on this subject.

If the administration and Legislature fund mental health services as they ought to be funded, why could our state not manage the hospital? Privatization of government services may be a popular idea among certain politicians, but how can one believe that a for-profit corporation can do it better and do it cheaper? Their bottom line drives their business. Considering the problems with our privatized foster care and KanCare, what problems could we expect from the privatized management of our hospital?

The decision to build a new hospital is great. But should we not make sure that we do not take the easy way out when it comes to management?