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Camber Children's Mental Health

KVC Hospitals Hays Becomes an All-Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF)

Starting October 21, 2019, KVC Hospitals Hays (formerly named KVC Wheatland Hospital) is operating as an all-psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF). In making this change, we will be able to provide services to an underserved population of youth in Kansas and nearby rural and frontier areas.

Learn more about psychiatric residential treatment at KVC.

Why is KVC Hospitals Hays Transitioning?

In 2009, the state of Kansas recognized a lack of youth psychiatric services in western KS and was unable to identify a sustainable model for a stand-alone acute hospital. Their solution was to create an RFP for a dually-licensed, Class 1, psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF) to serve both short-term acute and longer-term residential patients. KVC Hospitals was awarded this contract in 2010.

This allowed us to combine staff and operational costs as youth in our acute and residential programs participated in separate treatment programs but same-gender youth were able to share bedrooms at night time.

Two years ago, the State mentioned the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) might discontinue dual licensing. At this point, KVC began discussions with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) to determine if there was a solution that would satisfy new regulations, should that decision come to fruition. KVC was honest with KDADS and local stakeholders that if this new regulation was enacted, we would not be able to sustain a stand-alone acute unit.

Unfortunately, a solution could not be determined and in February 2019, KDADS told KVC that the CMS mandate was being enacted and by April 1, 2019, we had to operate completely separated units, effectively ending our shared operation model. The building upgrades necessary to comply with the new regulations could be in excess of $1 million and we would need continued funding to help us sustain overhead costs.

If Legislators could create a line item in the Governor’s budget, similar to funding provided for adult state psychiatric hospitals, that would assist with overhead costs and KVC would be open to exploring that as a sustainable operation.

As part of a greater state-wide solution, KVC opened a children’s psychiatric hospital in Wichita with 54 acute beds that can serve families in southwestern Kansas, due to many of these counties being nearly equal distance to Hays and Wichita. Additionally, we are transitioning KVC Hospitals Hays to an all-PRTF with plans to add beds for a total of 50 PRTF beds.

The Increased Need for PRTF Beds in Kansas

There is an urgent need for more PRTF services, with nearly 200 children currently on the waiting list. KVC Hospitals believes as part of our mission we can help alleviate the gap in care for this vulnerable population.

Our plans to provide a total of 50 PRTF beds paired with our commitment to strong clinical service delivery will allow us to reduce wait times and continue providing life-changing services to the children of western Kansas.

KVC Hospitals’ Continued Commitment to Kansas Families

Our mission has always been to serve the most vulnerable children in Kansas, and we will continue to do so in Hays. However, we no longer have the option to do this with acute services due to changes from CMS and the State. While we do not agree with the changes to the dual-licensed facility and are confident that for 10 years we have operated safely and effectively, we must adjust.

Our proven commitment to Kansas children and families has been shown in the past as we have worked without payment at times and relying on private fundraising to add more acute beds in Kansas City and Wichita at no cost to the State. We are hopeful all our efforts to add beds and services in Kansas will continue to show improvements for children in all communities.

What is Psychiatric Residential Treatment?

Our Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs) allow youth to transition to a more home-like environment with the support of our trained clinicians and staff. The youth learn and practice new skills and enjoy various community outings while receiving intensive clinical services in a structured environment. They also attend one of our accredited alternative schools for youth in grades K-12. The primary goal of our PRTF programs is to help youth sustain progress once they transition back into their communities.

Our treatment teams primarily achieve progress by improving a youth’s ability to regulate emotions through the use of appropriate and effective coping and social skills. Our work begins by partnering with the youth to complete a comprehensive assessment and develop an individualized treatment plan. We also help prepare the appropriate community partners to support the child when they return home.

About KVC Hospitals

KVC Hospitals is a nonprofit network of children’s psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment facilities in Kansas and Missouri. Each year, we serve thousands of youth ages 6 to 18 who are experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, childhood trauma, and other mental health needs. Our team combines expert and compassionate psychiatric treatment with neuroscience-based resources to help our clients embrace their full potential, build resilience and thrive.

If you have questions about the change at KVC Hospitals Hays, please contact Blythe Hinderliter at

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