Governor Kelly Announces New Youth Mental Health Hospital to Begin Providing Care in Hays

Hays, KS– Governor Laura Kelly announced today that Camber Children’s Mental Health (previously KVC Hospitals) is expected to begin accepting patients and providing care by early February at its new youth mental health hospital in Hays. Governor Kelly first announced the partnership between Camber and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) to open a modern acute facility to meet the needs of youth in western Kansans in December 2021. 

“Like much of the nation, we are at a crisis point here in Kansas regarding mental health,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This hospital will provide the necessary resources and care for young Kansans facing mental health crises. I am impressed with the commitment shown by the leaders at KDADS and Camber to not only the youth in western Kansas but also the communities this center will impact.” 

The contract agreement between KDADS and Camber, effective through June 30, 2027, specifies admissions at a licensed 14-bed hospital for youth up to 18 years to include up to 10 no-eject no-reject State Institutional Alternative (SIA) beds focused on patients from the Larned State Hospital (LSH) catchment area. This newly renovated center will also continue to provide the psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF) services currently provided by Camber in Hays. 

“The opening of this center in Hays offers a unique opportunity to expand capacity and address the needs related to mental health disorders for children and youth and as I’ve said before, comes at a time of critical consequence surrounding the issue of children’s psychiatric services,” KDADS Secretary Laura Howard said.  

In this state-of-the-art facility, Camber’s mental health and medical professionals will provide both inpatient and residential treatment for youth in need of intensive services to help them stabilize, build resilience, and develop coping skills so they can return home as soon as safely possible to continue outpatient treatment in their community.  

“We are grateful for the opportunity to expand our services in Hays and surrounding communities so we can further enhance the positive impact these services are making on the lives of children when they need it most,” said Camber Children’s Mental Health President Bobby Eklofe. “This new treatment facility is equipped with the latest technology and safety monitoring in a welcoming, child-focused space, allowing children to receive critical therapeutic treatment as soon as they need it in an atmosphere that promotes healing and wellness.” 

In addition to state funding, the opening of Camber Hays is due in part to the generosity of several private organizations. The Patterson Family Foundation, Robert & Patricia Schmidt Foundation, and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation each made significant financial contributions to support children’s mental health through Camber’s expanded services. Camber Hays will be able to serve 600 more youth each year who are facing struggles with suicidality, depression, anxiety, the impacts of trauma, self-harm, and other mental health disorders closer to home. 

Inpatient Acute Treatment Includes: 

  • Full medical, clinical, and nursing assessment within the first 24 hours of admission 
  • Intensive psychiatric care and medication management 
  • Individual, family, and group therapy sessions
  • Case coordination 
  • 24/7 Support and supervision from Camber’s skilled nursing staff 
  • Innovative treatment and education to teach youth about their brains and how to regulate their emotions 

Families, community mental health centers, health care providers, schools, and agencies seeking mental health treatment for youth can contact Camber’s admissions team 24/7 at 913-890-7468. 

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional