KCUR News
12:01 pm
Wed June 24, 2009

Kan. Officials Consider Closure Of Rainbow Mental Health

Kansas City, MO – Kansas officials are considering merging or closing several state-run facilities in response to the current budget crisis. The adult psychiatric hospital in Wyandotte County is one of six places under review. But that has many area law enforcement officials concerned.

Chief Wes Jordan, of the Prairie Village Police Department, traveled to Topeka yesterday for a hearing on the possible closure of Rainbow Mental Health Facility. Jordan says he and other police officers are worried that if Rainbow were shut down, it would take several hours to transport people experiencing mental health crises over to the nearest state hospital in Osawatomie.

JORDAN: "When you take a district, or sometimes two district cars out of service for that amount of time period, we are jeopardizing our obligation to respond to other emergencies in our community."

Jordan also says he's concerned officers might opt to put those with mental illnesses in jail, as opposed to taking them the extra distance to a hospital.

Members of the state commission charged with evaluating the potential closure say they're not interested in reducing services in the area, but they are looking at alternatives to providing them through a state institution.

The commission has until the end of the year to come up with state recommendations.

Within the Kansas City region, they're also looking at closing or combining facilities for the Kansas School for the Blind with the Kansas School for the Deaf.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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