Governor Kelly Establishes Advisory Panel for Regional Psychiatric Hospital in South Central Kansas

The South Central Regional Psychiatric Hospital Advisory Panel will be Instrumental in the Planning, Design, and Construction of Regional Hospital

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that, to improve state mental health care, she has signed Executive Order 23-05 establishing the South Central Regional Psychiatric Hospital Advisory Panel. The 14-member panel is tasked with gathering public input and making recommendations on the operation, location, and workforce development needs of the proposed 50-bed psychiatric hospital in south central Kansas.

The panel will examine how a state hospital would fit into existing or planned services in the region and identify existing resources, gaps in services, and opportunities to improve access to mental health services.

“To achieve a healthier Kansas, we must make mental health services more accessible and affordable,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “That’s exactly what this advisory panel will achieve by laying the groundwork for a psychiatric hospital that offers care closer to home, cuts wait times, and expands the services offered and constituents served in south central Kansas.”

Governor Kelly announced in May that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Service (KDADS) had awarded $25 million to Sedgwick County to create a new regional hospital designed to address statewide shortages of health and behavioral health services and the state’s increasing demand for a well-trained health care workforce. In addition, $15 million State General Fund was earmarked by the State Finance Council in December 2022 for the planning and initial design work for a regional state psychiatric hospital.

KDADS entered into an agreement in March 2023 with Sedgwick County to provide funding for planning, design, and other services related to the construction of the hospital.

Kansas currently operates state psychiatric hospitals in Osawatomie and Larned. A regional hospital in south central Kansas will address the shortage of in-patient mental health beds in the region and allow patients to remain closer to home and family while receiving care. It will also lessen jail overcrowding by shortening the wait time for inmates pending evaluations or treatment.

The advisory panel will provide an interim report to the Governor and the Sedgwick County Commission by January 15, 2024, with a final report due June 30, 2024.

Read the Executive Order here.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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