KDADS, Sedgwick County officials to host town hall on proposed sites for regional psychiatric hospital

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Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Laura Howard announced Monday the agency and Sedgwick County will host a public town hall meeting on Tuesday night to answer questions regarding the South Central Regional Psychiatric Hospital project in Sedgwick County and gather input on potential sites from the community.

According to a news release from KDADS, Sedgwick County issued a request for proposals for properties or existing buildings that could meet the needs of a 50-bed state psychiatric hospital.

The site review committee, made up of Sedgwick County and KDADS staff, reviewed 11 properties and 3 building proposals submitted for consideration. After applying screening criteria that were provided with the request for proposals announcement, the committee narrowed the submitted proposals to four potential sites:

  • 2622 West Central Avenue and 723 North McLean Boulevard
  • A parcel on the corner of Macarthur and Meridian
  • A parcel at 53rd and Greenwich
  • A parcel at 85th and I-135

“The review committee is excited about the progress being made toward opening a new regional psychiatric hospital and selecting a location is an important step forward for the project,” KDADS Deputy Secretary of Hospitals and Facilities Scott Brunner said. “The committee believes an open, community informed process is essential to the success of the hospital and shows its commitment to opening a facility that is both accessible and sustainable and serves the best interests of the community and patients.”

The town hall will be hosted from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Hughes Metroplex Complex, 5015 East 29th Street N, on the campus of Wichita State University. A live stream of the meeting will be available to the public on the KDADS YouTube channel.

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After the town hall meeting, Sedgwick County and KDADS staff will work to include comments received from the public in a final recommendation to the Sedgwick County Board of Commissioners. The recommendation will be presented at the Commission’s meeting on Dec. 20, with a request to begin negotiations with the selected property owner to close on the purchase by the end of January 2024.

“A regional hospital in south central Kansas will address the shortage of in-patient mental health beds in the region and allow patients to remain closer to home and family while receiving care while also alleviating jail overcrowding by shortening the wait time for inmates pending evaluations or treatment,” KDADS said in its press release. “Kansas currently operates state psychiatric hospitals in Osawatomie and Larned.”

Gov. Laura Kelly announced in May that KDADS had awarded $25 million to Sedgwick County to create a new regional hospital designed to address statewide shortages of health and behavioral health services and the state’s increasing demand for a well-trained health care workforce. In addition, $15 million from the State General Fund was earmarked by the State Finance Council in December 2022 for the planning and initial design work for a regional state psychiatric hospital.

KDADS entered into an agreement in March 2023 with Sedgwick County to provide funding for planning, design, and other services related to the construction of the hospital.

Kelly’s Executive Order 23-05 established the 14-member South Central Regional Psychiatric Hospital Advisory Panel tasked with gathering public input and making recommendations on the operation, location, and workforce development needs of the proposed 50-bed psychiatric hospital.

The panel will examine how a state hospital would fit into existing or planned services in the region and identify existing resources, gaps in services, and opportunities to improve access to mental health services.

The panel recommended hosting a town hall session to gather public input about potential sites at its meeting on Nov. 17.

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