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Kansas Faces Questions About Future of State Mental Hospital

staff - April 16, 2016 12:38 pm

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) – Kansas hopes to bring one of its mental hospitals back in line with federal standards by July so the state doesn’t keep losing up to $1 million a month in federal funds.

But legislators in both parties worry that the short-term focus on meeting federal standards means the state isn’t dealing enough with the question of whether it has enough hospital beds for the mentally ill.

The federal government decertified Osawatomie State Hospital in December. It cited a “systemic failure” to protect suicidal patients, adequately supervise care and perform required safety checks at the hospital about 45 miles southwest of Kansas City.

The state recently increased the pay for nurses, and it has filled nearly 60 positions since mid-January. The state also has hired consultants to help improve operations.

City of Salina