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Kansas Agency Wants Privatization Talks for Osawatomie State Hospital

KDADS Secretary Tim Keck speaking to a legislative committee about Osawatomie State Hospital. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

The head of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is asking lawmakers to allow the agency to consider privatizing Osawatomie State Hospital. The plan under consideration would allow the agency to request proposals to privatize services at the troubled mental health facility.

KDADS Secretary Tim Keck says they’re working to improve conditions and all options should be on the table.

“What we need to have is some flexibility to take in these concepts, take in these proposals and see what is best for Kansas,” says Keck.
Osawatomie State Hospital recently lost its federal certification and the federal funding that comes with it. Democratic Senator Laura Kelly says efforts to improve the facility might be tied to the privatization effort.
“Generally, when somebody wants to put their house on the market they clean it up, spruce it up so it has better curb appeal,” says Kelly. 
Critics of the bill say it would allow privatization of state mental hospitals to move forward without public hearings or approval of the full Legislature.

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