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Osawatomie Staff Learn Details Of Privatization Plan

Phil Cauthon
KHI News Service/File photo

Staff at Kansas’ troubled Osawatomie State Hospital got a first glimpse Tuesday at a proposal to privatize it.

The staff want to know what type of therapies the mental health facility would offer if privatized, and whether it would turn people away who don’t have insurance.

The Tennessee company that wants to operate it says it would not.

But there are other questions, too, about staff pay and pensions.

Many details won’t be clear for some time. The Department for Aging and Disability Services, which oversees state hospitals, will bring options to lawmakers next year. One proposal suggests building new facilities at Osawatomie for an estimated $100 to $170 million.

Osawatomie lost federal certification in 2015 because of safety problems. Federal officials visited this week to check if issues there have been resolved.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen is a reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and KCUR covering health, education and politics. You can reach her on Twitter @Celia_LJ