Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Shawn Sullivan announced today that the agency, which oversees Kansas’ four state hospitals, is asking for recommendations on how best to move forward with the Rainbow Mental Health Facility (RMHF) in Kansas City.
Most of the facility has been closed since November, 2011, after a State Fire Marshall’s inspection reported a number of citations related to building safety. KDADS has maintained and staffed a small number of open beds at Rainbow to deal with emergency patient evaluations in the Kansas City area. Once assessed, patients who are admitted for care are transferred to Osawatomie State Hospital or referred to another care provider.
This week the Kansas Department of Administration, which administers bidding procedures for all state executive branch agencies, posted the KDADS Request for Information (RFI) asking for ideas and proposals for the future use of RMHF.
“The department has been collaborating with law enforcement, legislators and our mental health partners in exploring possibilities for the future use of Rainbow in order to better serve the surrounding communities and the state,” Secretary Sullivan said. “This RFI will provide us with more of the information we need to decide Rainbow’s future. It is not a request for bids to provide specific services.”
Senator Jim Denning, Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Social Services Committee, said he has worked hard to protect funding and the mission of RMHF.
“I support modernizing the service mix at Rainbow. I would expect to see a priority emphasis on increasing the number of crisis stabilization beds,” Senator Denning said. “The Johnson County and Wyandotte County sheriffs need a ‘port in the storm’ to avoid having to take mentally ill patients to jail. Without an appropriate level of crisis stabilization beds, law enforcement has no option other than to take a mentally ill citizen to jail, which is not an appropriate setting for the delivery of mental health services to citizens.”
“RMHF has served a critical role in the Kansas public mental health system. It seems appropriate to re-examine its role and future use as we move forward with implementing the Governor’s Mental Health Initiative,” said Mike Hammond, executive director of the Association of Community Health Centers of Kansas. “This is a unique opportunity to help shape a decision the state will make to ensure the system has the appropriate resources to meet the needs of those we serve, be it by continuing with services previously provided by RMHF, or redesigning those services and placing them in a community setting. The key question we must ask ourselves is: How do we improve the system with this opportunity?”
The services that the Secretary and participants in community consultations and meetings have recommended need to be provided in the region include:
• 24-hour crisis response, triage and treatment service
• Short-term crisis stabilization, including the capacity to access mobile crisis response
• Medically monitored and social detoxification substance abuse services connected to a continuum of needed addiction services
• Short-term inpatient regional beds (5-7 days)
• Outpatient crisis stabilization services (72-96 hours)
The RFI is asking interested parties to respond with what services they believe must be maintained at Rainbow in order to ensure consumer and community needs are met; if the state contracted with them to provide any of the recommended services, which services would they be interested in providing; if there are services that are not recommended, are there services they believe would reduce the need for state hospital beds that they are interested in providing; how would the services they propose to provide improve upon the present system.
In addition, the RFI asks if interested parties’ proposals require space in the RMHF building to be implemented or if they propose the development of service delivery in an alternate location.
“Our community has a perfect opportunity through this RFI to discuss creative ideas and join together in strategic partnerships necessary to meet the ‘24-hour no wrong door’ behavioral health needs of consumers in our region,” said Dalyn Schmitt, CEO of Heartland Regional Alcohol and Drug Assessment Center in Roeland Park.
“One of our primary goals here is to ensure coordinated involvement with existing community services and stakeholders,” Secretary Sullivan said. “This RFI reflects recommendations made by the department’s legislatively mandated Hospital and Home Team and Wyandotte and Johnson County stakeholders.”
Secretary Sullivan added, “I would also like to thank and acknowledge members of the Rainbow staff who have maintained their commitment to patient care under difficult circumstances, including the need to commute from Kansas City to Osawatomie daily for many months.”