TOPEKA, Kan. — The state mental hospital in western Kansas will not lose its federal funding or be decertified after an inspection found the hospital is complying with federal regulations, the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services said Friday.
Federal regulators had threatened in October to cut off funding and demanded safety-related renovations in a 104-bed building at Larned State Hospital over concerns about patient safety and other issues.
The federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a letter to Bill Rein, Larned’s administrator, that a survey done Dec. 14 found the hospital was now complying with federal regulations and “we are rescinding our decision to terminate the hospital.”
Tim Keck, Secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, praised the decision.
“A very heavy burden has been lifted from Larned State Hospital staff and management today,” Keck said. “This message from CMS is a result of their hard work and dedication. We are delighted that our relationship with CMS is developing in this positive and collaborative way.”
Keck said in October that the state would spend about $1 million on renovations requested by federal regulators. He said Friday the staff at Larned, which is about 115 miles (185 kilometers) northwest of Wichita, will continue working to finish the remaining renovations.
Because Kansas’ laws involving state hospital licensing are similar to federal laws, Larned should no longer face regular annual surveys from the CMS or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, spokeswoman Angela de Rocha said.
After regulators noted concerns about the dangers of patients hanging or strangling themselves, the agency said it would make renovations such as replacing sinks, toilets, door handles and door hinges. Keck said in October the original survey didn’t mention any specific incidents of hangings or strangulations at Larned.
Other issues raised by the original survey such as cabinets containing medicines or chemicals not being secure and cases in which the hospital didn’t fully inform new patients of their rights.
Larned also has a unit for mentally ill criminal defendants and another for violent sexual offenders, together housing about 330 patients.
In December, the state mental hospital in eastern Kansas regained federal certification for one of its treatment units after completing about $1.3 million in renovations to address safety and patient care issues. Osawatomie State Hospital, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Kansas City, passed a federal inspection after Thanksgiving. The decision applies to a 60-bed unit at the hospital, which has a capacity of 158.