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Kansas Trying Pilot Program To Bring 'Transitional Care' To Osawatomie Patients

Phil Cauthon for KHI News Service

Kansas officials are hoping that a pilot program will help relieve pressure on the Osawatomie State Hospital. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the program will provide “transitional care” to some patients being dismissed from the state’s largest mental health hospital.

Officials at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services say there are several patients at Osawatomie who are no longer a danger to themselves or others but who aren’t ready to live independently.

The agency is contracting with Valeo Behavioral Health Care in Topeka to provide transitional housing.

“So, this is a special group of people," says Valeo CEO Bill Persinger. "I think there are about 25 or 26 of them. And they’re just awaiting a place to live.”

Persinger says the program will help those transitioning from the state hospital “practice” living on their own in a structured, safe environment.

A spokesperson for the state agency says the pilot program is aimed at preventing readmissions to Osawatomie, and freeing hospital beds for persons with severe mental illness who often spend days – even in emergencies – waiting to get in.