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Bill Aims To Increase Mental Health Services In Rural Kansas

Meg Wingerter
Kansas News Service/File photo
Osawatomie State Hospital

A new effort is underway to get more mental health services in rural areas of Kansas.

Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill designed to increase mental health services and get more psychiatrists into practice in underserved areas of the state.

The Kansas Psychiatric Society says all but five counties in Kansas have mental health professional shortages.

The idea is for the state to provide loans to medical students who agree to practice psychiatry in counties other than Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee or Wyandotte.

The state already provides loans for students who agree to practice primary care. Students who fail to uphold the agreement have to repay the loan.

Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Tim Keck says the bill could help address staffing shortages at the state's mental health hospitals, Larned and Osawatomie.

Osawatomie State Hospital lost its federal certification in December 2015.

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony on the bill last week.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

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