- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) - A moratorium on involuntary hospital admissions will continue at Osawatomie State Hospital as mandated renovations are wrapping up.

The facility in Miami County has been limited to 146 beds since mid-June, when the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ordered the renovations, The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1LTSY99 ) reported. The hospital still accepts patients with mental illnesses, but not before they’re placed on a waiting list. This means patients with serious mental health or substance abuse issues have to wait in local emergency rooms until others are discharged from the facility.

Since the moratorium began on June 21, roughly 65 patients from Sedgwick County have been involuntarily admitted to Osawatomie State Hospital, according to Comcare, the county’s mental health department. The vast majority of those patients were put on the waiting list, said Jason Scheck, director of outpatient services at Comcare.

“Almost all of our admissions end up on a waiting list,” Scheck said. “. I don’t recall in the last couple months being able to send someone directly without them first being on a waiting list.”

Although renovations at Osawatomie State Hospital are expected to end Thursday, the beds won’t open up until inspectors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can visit the facility to determine whether it’s up to federal safety standards.

“We’re still not going to have those beds because we have to be re-inspected by CMS. . We’re also kind of dependent when they do that inspection,” Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services spokeswoman Angela de Rocha said. “We have to have all of our i’s dotted and t’s crossed.”

If the hospital passes the inspection, it gradually will gain more bed space back, allowing the facility to take on additional patients, she said.

Osawatomie State Hospital is one of two state mental hospitals in Kansas. It is licensed to have 206 beds and serves patients from 46 counties in the eastern third of the state.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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