Osawatomie State Hospital avoids losing federal funds

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) — Federal authorities are no longer threatening to end Medicare and Medicaid funding for the Osawatomie State Hospital after work began on $3 million worth safety improvements.

The Kansas City Star reports that the Department of Health and Human Services told the psychiatric facility Monday that it had made sufficient progress and payments that amount to about one-fourth of the hospital’s $26 million annual budget would continue.

“We’re just very happy with yesterday’s outcome,” Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which operates Osawatomie, said Tuesday. “We’ve made a great deal of progress. We’ll continue working with (HHS) to comply.”

Osawatomie, which is one of two psychiatric hospitals operated by the state, was threatened with the loss of funding after the department inspected the facility in January and found that it was not in compliance with several safety standards to prevent patient injuries and suicides.

The hospital has been replacing beds, installing new bathroom fixtures and replacing suspended ceilings. It has also been eliminating items that could be used for hanging or as a weapon.

This is the second time in recent months that federal regulators have threatened to take away funding from the hospital. Several complaints prompted an inspection in October, which revealed that the facility was severely overcrowded and the health of patients was jeopardized.



Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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