Opinion Columns & Blogs

Cost of lost Osawatomie funding tops $15 million

The state expected to lose $1 million a month after the federal government terminated Medicare funding to Osawatomie State Hospital in December. A new legislative audit, requested by Rep. Henry Helgerson, D-Eastborough, puts the fiscal impact at $15 million as of June. That includes $6 million in lost federal payments, nearly $8 million to address the safety and other concerns that led to Medicare’s action, and $700,000 for consultants. The 2016 Legislature found $15 million more to help the psychiatric hospital through the crisis, and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services recently applied to have part of the facility recertified. But the state’s budget could use a full restoration of Medicare funding as soon as possible. – Rhonda Holman