KS hospital problems tied to privatization push

Posted at 3:57 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 16:57:53-05

Two Kansas legislators from different parties are suggesting that the state has mismanaged its two mental hospitals to justify turning them over to private companies to operate.

But one of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's top social services administrators told a House committee Monday that there's nothing to the allegation.

Both Democratic Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita and Republican Rep. Scott Schwab of Olathe suggested the hospitals may have been deliberately mismanaged.

Secretary Tim Keck said the Department for Aging and Disability Services sees privatization as an option for Osawatomie State Hospital about 45 miles southwest of the Kansas City area, but not for Larned State Hospital in western Kansas.

Dozens of positions are open at each hospital, and the federal government decertified the Osawatomie Hospital in December.