State Officials Discuss Possible Solutions for Larned State Hospital

On Thursday, Governor Laura Kelly met with Pawnee County Sheriff Scott King and Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir to discuss the ongoing situation at Larned State Hospital.

The hospital has been the topic of conversation in law enforcement circles due to their inability to accept emergency commitments and security issues.

Several potential solutions were presented to the law enforcement officials by Secretary of KDADS, Laura Howard.

Sheriff Bellendir one solution discusses was opening one or more “crisis houses” that would allow for trained staff to monitor a person who is in crisis until the state hospital could accept them.

The secretary is looking into the possibility of acquiring unused buildings at Larned State Hospital for this purpose.

Another idea would be to create a “single point of contact” for law enforcement. This would alleviate confusion caused by talking to several different people at the facility.

Sec. Howard went on to say requirements for the “catchment areas” enforced by the state may be waived in certain circumstances. The governor’s office is also looking into expanding the “mobile competency” evaluations for some individuals. Sheriff Bellendir said this would help alleviate the backlog at Larned.

A security audit is planned for the state hospital as well and is expected to be conducted in the near future.

In all, Sec. Howard addressed 12 key issues of concern and Sheriff Belendir said he thought the meeting was positive and a step in the right direction.