State discusses privatization plan for Osawatomie

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An older building stands near the entrance of Osawatomie State Hospital, Friday, April 8, 2016 in Osawatomie, Kan. Reminders of the past mark the campus in older buildings, some largely abandoned as states moved in past decades away from using large hospitals to treat the mentally ill. Fifty years ago, Osawatomie had more than 750 patients. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

TOPEKA — The secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is promoting a plan to turn over the troubled Osawatomie State Hospital to a private company.

Secretary Tim Keck presented information in Topeka Wednesday about Correct Care Recovery Solutions’ bid to rebuild and run Osawatomie, which lost federal certification in 2015. Correct Care runs mental health facilities around the country.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Keck believes Correct Care could run the hospital at a lower cost and more effectively recruit staff.

The proposal includes a 210-bed hospital. The state agency would continue to operate its 60-bed acute care unit.

Keck said the rebuild project is expected to cost between $100 million and $175 million. He said the contract could be final near the end of the year.

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