- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The state of Kansas is moving more than 100 mental health inmates from a state psychiatric hospital in Topeka to facilities run by multiple agencies in an effort to relieve a staffing shortage.

The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/1SUCeAr ) reports that the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services will transfer 60 mental health inmates from Larned State Hospital to a Kansas Department of Corrections facility on the same campus, starting Monday.

Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services spokeswoman Angela De Rocha said the inmates were in a unit at the hospital as part of a 2006 agreement meant to alleviate overcrowding at the adjacent correctional facility.

The department plans to gradually transfer the inmates back to the Department of Corrections and shut down two units in the state hospital to address the staffing shortage, which has ignited safety concerns.

“This is intended to be a temporary move to help further alleviate the staffing concerns,” KDADS Secretary Tim Keck wrote in a letter to Larned employees Wednesday. “This move will free up 25 to 30 staff who will then be able to help in other parts of the hospital.”

The department couldn’t say how many vacant positions the hospital had Thursday, but internal emails obtained by the newspaper show concerns about understaffing.

Kansas’ other psychiatric hospital in Osawatomie recently lost its Medicare certification after federal auditors found that there were gaps in safety from understaffing. The state will lose $1 million in federal funding each month until the hospital regains certification.


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

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