Privatization talks continue for Osawatomie State Hospital

Source: Charity Keitel, Miami County Republic, March 7, 2018
The word “privatization” was the elephant in the room during Thursday’s Osawatomie State Hospital (OSH) town hall meeting at Memorial Hall. Residents met with representatives from Correct Care Recovery Solutions, Secretary Tim Keck of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and area legislators hoping to learn more about what a transition from a state-operated facility to a privately-operated facility would entail. And it wasn’t just residents who had questions. Rep. Jene Vickrey questioned Keck a few times, clarifying some of his concerns about the request for proposal (RFP) for privatization as well as his displeasure that KDADS is drafting a bill, regarding the RFP, to be introduced this late into the legislative session. …


KDADS Secretary makes pitch to privatize Osawatomie
Source: Melissa Brunner, WIBW, August 30, 2017
The Kansas Dept. for Aging and Disability services is making the case to privatize the Osawatomie State Hospital.   Secretary Tim Keck presented information Wednesday to state lawmakers and community leaders. Over nearly two hours, Keck detailed the history Osawatomie, the issues it has experienced in recent years and steps the state has taken to address the problems.  Looking to the future, Keck detailed a bid from Correct Care Recovery Solutions to rebuild and run Osawatomie, which lost federal certification in 2015. Correct Care runs mental health facilities around the country. …

State officials hope to replace, privatize Osawatomie State Hospital
Source: Peter Hancock, Lawrence Journal-World, August 30, 2017

State officials in Kansas began laying out their case Wednesday for why they think the state should replace the aging and troubled Osawatomie State Hospital with a new facility and hand over management of the facility to a for-profit, out-of-state corporation. Tim Keck, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which manages the psychiatric hospital, said the hospital has become too challenging for the state to manage, and it is time for the state to make a decision. …

Kansas Lawmaker Leary Of Plans To Privatize Osawatomie
Source: Celia Llopis-Jepsen, KMUW, August 23, 2017

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has unveiled a proposal to build a new mental hospital at Osawatomie, which a Tennessee company would run. But Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward says the agency should be exploring in-house options. “This administration has a terrible history of privatization. Whether it be child support collection, DCF, KanCare,” Ward says. KDADS Secretary Tim Keck says the private operator would bring expertise and the ability to recruit mental health professionals. But, he says, his department is keeping an open mind. …

Kansas agency may privatize state psychiatric hospital working to regain federal funds
Source: Allison Kite, Topeka Capital-Journal, August 16, 2017
The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is considering privatization for a troubled state psychiatric hospital that has now passed an initial step toward regaining some federal funding. KDADS Secretary Tim Keck said the department was considering a bid from Correct Care Recovery Solutions, which runs other mental health facilities across the country, to rebuild and privately run Osawatomie State Hospital.  The department also announced in a press release Wednesday that the acute care unit at the state psychiatric hospital had passed an initial survey required to get that part of the hospital re-certified by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. …

Kansas Official To Outline Privatization Plan For Osawatomie State Hospital
Source: Jim McLean, KCUR, August 14, 2017
One way or another, Tim Keck wants to replace the state’s aging Osawatomie State Hospital with a new mental health treatment facility.  Though he is meeting with some resistance, the secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is pushing lawmakers to consider privatizing the state-run psychiatric hospital, which in recent years has been beset by operational problems.  On Tuesday Keck will outline a privatization plan submitted by a Tennessee-based company to stakeholders and legislators during a 1 p.m. meeting at hospital’s administration building. …

Osawatomie Contract Bidder Has History Of Safety Issues At Its Florida Psychiatric Facilities
Source: Meg Wingerter, KMUW, February 23, 2017

Correct Care Solutions, a Tennessee-based company that is the sole bidder for a contract to operate Osawatomie State Hospital, has a history of safety problems at the state psychiatric facilities it runs in Florida. Officials with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) declined to provide details this week on Correct Care’s bid to operate Osawatomie State Hospital, one of two state facilities for people deemed a danger to themselves or others. The department is evaluating the proposal and hasn’t given a timeline for whether or when it would bring it before the Legislature. Under a law they approved last year, lawmakers must approve the contract before KDADS can move forward. …

‘Tough’ Budget: New Funding Unlikely For Kan. Mental Health System
Source: Meg Wingerter, Hays Post, February 12, 2017

A key Kansas lawmaker says the state doesn’t have the money to fix problems in its mental health system, which a new report says are getting steadily worse. The report, the second from a task force created in 2015 to advise the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, says the system has continued to deteriorate. The task force’s first report, issued about 18 months ago, concluded the system was “stretched beyond its ability to provide the right care at the right time in the right place.” Rep. Brenda Landwehr, who chairs the House Social Services Budget Committee, agreed there are substantial gaps in the system but said lawmakers are virtually powerless to respond because of the depth of the state’s budget problems. … Given the amount of projected red ink, Landwehr said the state can’t afford to implement task force recommendations that would require significant new spending. Specifically, she said, it can’t afford to add psychiatric residential services for people covered by KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. … In the updated report, task force members also signaled their opposition to privatizing Osawatomie State Hospital, citing concerns about the quality of care delivered by for-profit contractors in other states. … More than 60 [House members] have signed on to a bill that would prohibit the privatization of either of the state’s mental health hospitals unless authorized by the Legislature. …

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Privatization considered at Osawatomie State Hospital
Source: Charity Keitel, Miami County Republic, November 23, 2016

After more than a year of improvements, renovations and the pursuit of recertification, the Osawatomie State Hospital’s (OSH) future continues to remain in a state of flux. Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Interim Secretary Tim Keck recently announced that a request for proposal (RFP) for privatization of the operation of OSH has been put into effect. The RFP entails several specifications and could allow for a partial privatization of the hospital or a full bid for the entire operation. The RFP states that the state may award one contract to assume responsibility for providing at least 206 inpatient beds within the state of Kansas, but a minimum of only 94 inpatient beds would be required to be maintained at the current Osawatomie State Hospital campus. The remaining beds could be maintained at the OSH campus or at another KDADS-approved facility within the state hospital’s 45-county catchment area. Despite the RFP, Keck said it in no way means that privatization is a certainty in OSH’s future. He said he believes it is worthwhile to consider all the options even those that may not come to fruition. The RFP can be rescinded at any time for any reason at the state’s discretion. … Jones went on to say that he does not agree with an RFP that plans to move beds away from OSH and not increase functions there. He said the RFP seems to allow for a move of beds away from the state hospital as an option, which he does not favor. … It’s his belief that the legislators need to push back and make sure the RFP does not make it through the legislature. …

State seeks proposals to privately operate mental hospital
Source: Bill Draper, Associated Press, November 18, 2016

A Kansas agency is seeking bids from private contractors to run the troubled Osawatomie State Hospital, which lost federal certification a year ago over safety issues. The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services issued a request for proposals Monday to operate the mental health facility about 45 miles southwest of Kansas City. Its certification was pulled after a critical survey last November found a “systemic failure” to protect suicidal patients, adequately supervise care and perform required safety checks. The survey noted that an employee reported being raped in October by a patient. … Osawatomie and Larned State Hospital are perpetually short-staffed, despite budget increases aimed at raising salaries and reducing operational shortcomings. Those problems at both hospitals prompted two state representatives — one from each party — to suggest in February that Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration had mishandled the hospitals to justify turning over their operations to private companies. Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat who, along with Republican Rep. Scott Schwab, questioned the administration’s motives, on Friday called the RFP disappointing, especially since other privatized programs, including Medicaid and foster care services, are having serious problems. Keck has insisted that his department has no plans to consider privatizing Larned and just wants to keep its options open on Osawatomie. … Under the RFP issued Monday, a contractor would assume responsibility for providing at least 206 inpatient beds, with a minimum of 94 to remain at Osawatomie. Keck said his department wanted to make the RFP as broad as possible to attract the most responses. “Part of the reason we’re looking at privatization is because the model we’ve been following hasn’t worked very well,” he said. …

Editorial: Privatization is the wrong direction for Osawatomie State Hospital
Source: Kansas City Star, March 29, 2016

Instead of following that path to privatization, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services should do whatever is necessary to improve security and upgrade services at Osawatomie and Larned state hospitals. Larned has 529 patients in its three different units. People who trust that their loved ones with severe mental health problems will receive proper care at Osawatomie State Hospital should expect the best and, at the very least, that they will be safe too. … Under the poor leadership of Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican-controlled Legislature, Kansas has severe funding problems brought on by irresponsible tax cuts. But for the sake of Kansans with severe mental health needs, lawmakers should plug the financial holes so the state hospitals can provide good security and services. Expecting a private company to step in and solve the state hospitals’ problems is only asking for more trouble.

Agency seeks authority to privatize Osawatomie State Hospital
Source: Peter Hancock, Lawrence Journal-World, March 16, 2016

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services says it wants to seek proposals from private companies or nonprofit organizations to take over management and administration of the state’s largest psychiatric hospital. … Keck, who took over as secretary in January, said the agency issued an informal “request for information” on the possibility of privatizing the hospital last year. Based on those responses, he said, the agency wants to issue a more formal “request for proposals,” which is similar to soliciting bids, later this year. But in the budget bill that Gov. Sam Brownback signed earlier this month, lawmakers inserted a proviso that prohibits the administration from privatizing any state hospital without prior legislative approval. …

Kansas official proposes privatizing Osawatomie hospital
Source: Bryan Lowry, Wichita Eagle, March 16, 2016

At a legislative hearing Wednesday, a member of Gov. Sam Brownback’s cabinet floated a plan to privatize the state’s hospital in Osawatomie. Tim Keck, the interim secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, confirmed that an amendment his agency would like to add to SB 460 would enable the agency to pursue privatizing the embattled hospital, which lost its Medicare certification in December over concerns that short staffing had created an unsafe environment. The underlying bill deals with increasing the number of unclassified employees at the state hospital, something which the Kansas Organization of State Employees says is already within the agency’s power.

Kansas agency considering privatization of Osawatomie State Hospital
Source: Edward M. Eveld, Kansas City Star, February 15, 2016

Kansas agency officials want to develop a request for proposal to privatize Osawatomie State Hospital, a House committee was told Monday. Two legislators on the committee suggested to the head of the state Department for Aging and Disability Services that the state’s two psychiatric hospitals had been mismanaged as a way to justify privatization. Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, said there was an appearance of some “intentional mismanagement” to push the state toward privatization. Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, said it seemed the agency created a situation that would lead to turning over the hospitals to private companies. … Keck said the agency is working toward Medicare recertification for Osawatomie which, if all goes well, could be completed by summer. … The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told the hospital in November that Medicare would stop reimbursements for patient care. That notice came after a survey found that the hospital had failed to protect suicidal patients, properly supervise care and perform safety checks. … Increased funding of $1.2 million would provide a 5 percent staff pay increase. Both the House and Senate budget bills include extra funds for Osawatomie to help pay for staffing needs.