Kansas psych hospital to lose chunk of fed funds

Posted at 1:24 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 23:33:14-05

Lauren Weathersby-Seaman still gets emotional when she thinks about her time as a patient at Osawatomie State Hospital.

Records she provided 41 Action News show Seaman suffers from bi-polar disorder and was a patient at the psychiatric hospital for 15 days in August and September.

WATCH: Tune into 41 Action News at 10pm for Andy Alcock's report

"I fought for life every single day I was in there," she said.

Seaman sent 41 Action News pictures of bruises on her body she claims she suffered when other patients attacked her.

"And I told the staff members I said look, I have bruises. I said I just got jumped and the staff member says it's between you and them," Seaman said.

About Osawatomie State Hospital

  • Founded in 1855
  • Serves patients from 36 counties in Kansas
  • "Provides services to adults diagnosed with psychiatric disorders regardless of ability to pay or legal status"
  • One of four medical facilities operated by the state of Kansas
  • MORE

Seaman also claims no one would show up to take her to the bathroom, bring her food or respond when she needed help. Specifically, she said when a staff member failed to show up to take her to the bathroom as was supposed to happen, she resorted to urinating and defecating in a cup.

Seaman also says another woman patient walked into her room while she was sleeping and started petting her hair and saying Seaman was her daughter.

Report of rape

A few weeks after she left the hospital, prosecutors charged Aaron Goodman, a patient, with raping a 21-year -old staff member. According to a federal report, two patients pulled Goodman off the woman and other staff were slow to respond.

That incident triggered a federal investigation and an action plan by the hospital to correct any deficiencies. In December, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services determined that action plan was insufficient.

The move to de-certify Osawatomie effectively cuts off all federal funding to the hospital Jan. 20, 2016.

In a letter dated Dec. 22, 2015 to Osawatomie Superintendent Doctor John Worley, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services states Osawatomie is no longer qualified for federal funding because of deficiencies that represent an "immediate jeopardy" to patient health and safety. 

The letter states Osawatomie is "out of compliance" in these areas of Medicare Conditions of Participation:

  • Governing Body
  • Patients' Rights
  • Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement Program
  • Physical Environment
  • Discharge Planning
  • Special Medical Record Requirements for Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Special Staff Requirements for Psychiatric Hospitals

Investigators found the hospital "failed to provide adequate safety round checks placing all patients receiving services at risk for harm."

According to the hospital's last completed budget year--ending June 30, 2015--federal funding accounted for roughly $15.5 million out of a total $32 million operating budget, or just under half.

State spokeswoman Angela de Rocha says it's estimated the hospital will take a 23 percent hit in the current budget year due to the lost funding.

What's next?

"Most people think it's mismanagement of the money by the administration and Sam Brownback, you know, things that he's done and the cuts that he's made," said Chris Cooley.

Cooley owns a cafe and bakery in downtown Osawatomie. She says her customers who work at the hospital complain of under staffing and working extra shifts. But she also says the hospital is critically important to her business and to the small town.

When asked what would happen to Osawatomie without the hospital, Cooley replied, "I don't know, it's probably the biggest employer we have."

41 Action News went to the hospital, seeking to interview leaders. Administrators there declined comment and referred 41 Action News to de Rocha. She said renovation plans at the hospital are continuing and there's no plan to close or cut back on services.

Cause for concern?

Seaman is worried. She believes her complaints and the complaints of other patients have largely been dismissed.

"Exactly, we're crazy," Seaman said.

Osawatomie could apply to again be certified by the federal government and again get federal funding. So far, no decision about the next step has been made.