KOFO Local News

Osawatomie State Hospital refuses all patient admissions

Posted in Uncategorized by kofonews on June 25, 2015

OSAWATOMIE — Osawatomie State Hospital has stopped admitting patients because of overcrowding.  The Kansas Health Institute News Service reported Ted Jester, Kansas Dept. of Aging and Disability Services assistant mental health director, said Wednesday that all admissions were suspended Saturday evening when the hospital’s census reached 146 patients.  It’s the first time ever the hospital turned away involuntary-admission patients since the passage of a 1996 law giving the state the authority to do so, Jester said.  Involuntary-admission patients pose a danger to themselves or others.  Hospital officials were trying to find other places for those affected by the moratorium, he said.  These efforts, he said, include asking psychiatric units at private hospitals to admit some of the patients even though the units typically resist taking patients who are uninsured, admitted “involuntary” and potentially violent.  “This is going to be a growing process for all of us,” Jester said, referring to the department’s search for alternatives. “We’re going to learn from it, and I’m positive this will help strengthen our system overall.”  Dr. Dennis allin, chair of the emergency medical department at the University of Kansas Hospital, told KHI it’s not unusual for involuntary-admission patients to spend six to 10 hours in the hospital’s emergency room.  “That’s fairly common,” Allin said in the interview. “It’s become part of what we’ve gotten used to.”   Still, he said, KU hospital has had “good luck” in referring would-be patients to Rainbow Services, a 22-bed KDADS-funded crisis intervention facility in Kansas City.  Jester said he doesn’t know how long the moratorium new admissions will last. Some patients are scheduled to be released, freeing up space.  There was a waiting list of patients to be admitted this weekend but Jester says no one was on the list Wednesday.  Earlier this year, KDADS limited the hospital’s daily census to 146 patients after federal officials  threatened to cut off funds because of overcrowding and safety problems.  The hospital also banned voluntary admissions.

Thursday, Jan. 25, 2 p.m.

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