TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The federal government has told the state that the Osawatomie State Hospital has three weeks to correct problems found in a recent inspections or it will no longer be eligible for Medicare payments. The head of the Kansas agency that oversees the hospital says she’s confident that won’t happen.
Kari Bruffett, secretary of the Department of Aging and Disability Services, assured a legislative committee Tuesday that the state has a plan to help address problems — particularly overcrowding — before Osawatomie is taken off Medicare, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/11sT4zN ).
“We don’t think that’s going to happen,” Bruffet told the Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight. “We in fact have a plan of corrective action. It includes resolving the outstanding issues this week.”
Osawatomie State Hospital and Larned State Hospital are the only two state hospitals that house patients with severe mental illness. The last inspection by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited overcrowding at Osawatomie, Bruffett said. As of Tuesday, the hospital had 221 patients, 15 more than its legal capacity.
Bruffett said the state has been using a census management plan for the past several months to contract with community hospitals for adult psychiatric beds, but many have closed their adult facilities and some communities don’t have enough outpatient facilities to treat patients discharged from a state hospital.
She said the short-term plan is to find ways that the state’s 26 licensed community mental health centers can share resources and to help community hospitals with adult psychiatric units to expand their capacity. For the longer term, the state is trying to expand facilities that house patients for one or two days in emergency situations, Bruffet said.
For example, the state is already working with substance abuse providers in Johnson and Wyandotte counties to briefly house people at the former Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, and Bruffett said the department recently awarded a $1 million grant to launch a similar project in south-central Kansas.
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