Archives: KHI News Service

On January 1, 2017, the KHI News Service became part of KCUR public radio’s new initiative, the Kansas News Service. The Kansas News Service will continue to cover health policy news and broaden its scope to include education and politics. All stories produced by the former KHI News Service are archived here. Stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to

Citing Larned staffing issues, Kansas moves mental health inmates

By Stephen Koranda, HEARTLAND HEALTH MONITOR | April 11, 2016

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is moving mental health inmates between state facilities as a way to alleviate staffing shortages at Larned State Hospital.

The plan includes moving dozens of inmates with mental health issues from Larned State Hospital units to another facility on the same campus run by the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Photo by Stephen Koranda/Kansas Public Radio Gov. Sam Brownback said Larned State Hospital inmates being moved between state facilities because of staffing issues will continue to receive psychiatric services.

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Brownback said the inmates will still receive psychiatric services once they’re moved.

“You want to make sure that you’ve got people in the right place so you can maximize your space and your utilization of it. Those are management things,” Brownback said Friday.

Larned is home to the state’s sexual predator treatment program, which was found to be near capacity during a recent audit.

The state hospitals have been a hot topic during this legislative session, with lawmakers keeping an eye on proposals to privatize the facilities.

State Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, said the plan to relocate inmates won’t fix staffing and funding challenges at the state hospitals, which provide treatment to Kansans with mental health issues who are deemed a danger to themselves or others.

“It’s kind of shuffling things around,” she said. “It might provide some very short-term relief. I think long-term it does nothing to deal with the underlying problems.”

Rebecca Proctor, with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, agrees that the move doesn’t create a lasting solution to staffing problems.

“It is at best a temporary Band-Aid,” she says.

Proctor is concerned some inmates who need psychiatric care will be moved to facilities where corrections staff don’t have mental health training.

The other state hospital Kansas facility, Osawatomie State Hospital, lost its federal certification in December because of staffing and safety concerns.