HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) – In western Kansas, kids 18 and under, who are homicidal or suicidal and in crisis, will no longer have a nearby hospital to stay after the KVC closed its acute beds.
“They quietly close the doors in Hays and leave us,” said mother Kathleen Arendt.
Kathleen Arendt said her child has had several suicidal and homicidal emergencies. She is now worried about the distance she may have to travel to get life-saving help.
“Five hours in a vehicle with a child who is suicidal or homicidal and wants to hurt you and will attack you on the way or wants to jump out of the car because their suicidal, it’s so scary,” she said.
Organizations like Compass in Garden City and High Plains Mental Health in Hays used the hospital, and officials said their options are limited.
“We’re looking at options, but at this point, those with you know care and custody of children are going to have to drive to Kansas City, Denver or Wichita,” said Walter Hill, executive director of High Plains Mental Health.
KVC officials did release a statement that said the reason why they are transitioning to an All-PRTF is because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid discontinued dual licensing, and once the regulation was enacted, KVC was unable to sustain a separate acute unit.
They also stated if legislators could create a line item in the governor’s budget, that would assist with overhead costs, they would be open to collaborating for a sustainable model.
It has Arendt hoping something will be available soon because everything is so far away.
“It leaves us in such a lurch out here in western Kansas because there are no acute facilities for children,” she said.
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