State discusses privatization plan for psychiatric hospital

August 30, 2017

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A private company that has bid to rebuild and run the troubled Osawatomie State Hospital is proposing a replacement facility with 210 beds that would cost between $100 million and $175 million, the secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said Wednesday.

Secretary Tim Keck presented information in Topeka about Correct Care Recovery Solutions’ bid to rebuild and run the Osawatomie state psychiatric hospital in eastern Kansas. Correct Care runs mental health facilities around the country, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported .

The current hospital was decertified in December 2015 after inspectors uncovered numerous safety, staffing and patient-care issues, including a patient raping a hospital worker. Without certification, the hospital cannot receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, which has cost the state about $1 million a month.

Keck, who gave similar presentations in Osawatomie, Wichita and Independence, said he thought Correct Care could run Osawatomie for less than the $616 per patient per day the state currently spends. And he said he believes the private company could better recruit staff because of its experience and national reach. He said the contract could be final by the end of the year.

The state agency would continue to operate its 60-bed acute unit, bringing the total number of beds to 270. The current facility has 206 beds, and Keck said 150 were operational as of Wednesday.

Some lawmakers have expressed skepticism of the privatization plan.

Sen. Laura Kelly, a Democrat from Topeka, questioned Keck over Correct Care’s history in Florida, where newspaper investigations raised concerns about care and deaths in Florida mental health hospitals, including those run by Correct Care. The newspapers found six patients had died at Correct Care facilities in Florida since 2011.

Meanwhile, the state agency continues to seek recertification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The hospital failed a survey in May because CMS found it wasn’t meeting regulations governing how it hands out medications, prepares food and treats patients. But the state agency announced earlier this month the hospital passed an initial step toward regaining certification for its acute care unit, which accounts for 60 of its 206 beds.

The hospital must pass another review before the funding is restored. Keck has estimated the hospital will get about $400,000 of the missing $1 million each month once it is certified.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com