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Policy: Labor

State to cut jobs at two state hospitals in Kansas

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Associated Press,Jobs,Labor,Health Care

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — More than 50 jobs will be eliminated at state hospitals in Topeka and Larned in an effort to save up to $3 million, Kansas officials said Tuesday.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said it would eliminate 35 jobs at the Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka and about two dozen jobs at Larned State Hospital. Most of the job reductions would come from resignations or retirements, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

"We are undertaking these changes in order to be good stewards of taxpayers' resources and to improve the delivery of behavioral health resources to the people of Kansas, most specifically, our patients," said KDADS Secretary Shawn Sullivan.

Under a proposal to be presented to the Legislature, the savings would be used for employee raises, hiring at least three more psychiatrists and covering reductions in federal aid. The changes were suggested in a consultant's report that also recommended an expansion of the direct-care nursing staff pool to reduce problems with excessive overtime costs at Larned.

Larned also houses the state's sexual predator treatment program where individuals are held by court order. Other units work with adults with mental illness.

"These changes are intended to make LSH a better care facility," Sullivan said. "It is essential for us to keep focused on our mission, which is to provide a strong safety net of mental health services for Kansans in partnership with patients, community providers, and the justice system."

The plan would eliminate administrative positions at KNI and consolidate two residence buildings by the middle of 2015. Clinical and dental services will be merged or reduced within about six months.

The suggestions were offered by the Buckley Group based in Englewood, Colo., hired by Kansas to examine state hospital operations. Other facilities examined were those in Osawatomie and Parsons. The changes are designed to help the hospitals pay for scheduled pay increases for staff and blunt the anticipated loss of federal funding under the federal Affordable Care Act.

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