- Associated Press - Sunday, December 20, 2015

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) - One of Kansas’ two mental hospitals will lose federal Medicare funds after Monday because it falls short of meeting federal regulations.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services told the state it will no longer pay for new patients admitted to Osawatomie State Hospital because the hospital doesn’t comply with part of the Social Security Act that requires a hospital to provide services sufficient to meet its patients’ needs.

After Monday, the state will pay the costs of caring for patients at the facility, according to Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

A notice in the Osawatomie Graphic newspaper on Wednesday said the hospital was determined to be in noncompliance during a Nov. 3 survey, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/1J0Gey0 ) reported. Federal inspectors visited the Osawatomie hospital again Friday before CMS informed the state of its decision.

“The survey revealed a condition or circumstance that would put someone’s life or well-being in jeopardy,” de Rocha said.

She said the state had tried working to correct compliance violations but it apparently didn’t meet federal standards.

Kari Bruffett, the department’s secretary, said the hospital will continue to care for and treat its patients.

“The hospital intends to seek Medicare recertification immediately,” Bruffett said Friday. “During that process, the hospital will continue to accept patients. Osawatomie staff will continue to work diligently to meet certification standards.”

Osawatomie is in Miami County near the Missouri state line. The state’s other mental hospital is in Larned. Both institutions care for people who are a danger to themselves or others, with patients usually admitted involuntarily.

Earlier this year federal officials raised safety concerns at the Osawatomie hospital, such as fixtures in the ceilings that patients could use to hang themselves.

Osawatomie put a cap on the number of patients it admits while it made renovations in an effort to comply with federal standards. That work limited the number of beds available, which led to the creation of a waiting list that has persisted since June.

CMS spokesman Mike Fierberg in the Denver regional office said compliance inspections try to ensure the highest quality of care is provided.

“It’s not our goal to shut these places down,” Fierberg said. “That’s stupid. That doesn’t serve anybody.”


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

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