New western Kan. mental health facility to start to provide care to children, teens

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 8:04 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A new, state-of-the-art mental health facility will start to provide care to children and teens in Western Kansas in February 2023.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced on Wednesday, Jan. 25, that Camber Children’s Mental Health - previously KVC Hospitals - will start to accept patients and provide care by early February at its new youth mental health hospital in Hays.

Gov. Kelly said she first announced the partnership between Camber and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to open a modern acute facility that meets the needs of youth in western Kansas in December 2021.

“Like much of the nation, we are at a crisis point here in Kansas regarding mental health,” 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.”

Kelly indicated that the contract agreement between KDADS and Camber - which is effective through June 30, 2027 - specifics 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 beds focused on patients from the Larned State Hospital catchment area.

The Governor said the newly renovated center will also continue to provide the psychiatric residential treatment facility 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 the new state-of-the-art facility, Kelly noted that Camber’s mental health and medical professionals will provide inpatient and residential treatment for children in need of intensive services to help stabilize, build resilience and develop coping skills to return home as soon and safely as possible to continue outpatient treatment.

“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 funds, the Governor indicated that the opening of the facility is partly due to the generosity of several private organizations. She said the Patterson Family Foundation, Robert & Patricia Schmidt Foundation and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation each made significant contributions to support children’s mental health through the expanded services.

Kelly said the new facility will be able to serve 600 more youth each year who face struggles with suicide, depression, anxiety, the impacts of trauma, self-harm and other mental health disorders. She said inpatient treatment will include:

  • 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

Those who seek mental health treatment for youth can contact Camber’s admissions team at 913-890-7468.