Missouri House approves transferring mental health center's ownership to MU

Thursday, April 2, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday evening that would transfer ownership of the Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center to MU.

Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, sponsored the bill as one of his legislative priorities this session. The bill, which next goes to the state Senate for approval, would transfer ownership of the hospital from the state Department of Mental Health to MU. This transfer is estimated to have no financial impact on the state in the next three fiscal years.

In addition to providing services to children and adults, the hospital — which has 69 beds and is located next to University Hospital — provides MU students with opportunities in nursing, social work and psychiatric training.

"The reason they passed the bill was that the state system of treating mentally ill people can receive more reimbursements from the federal government if the university operates the hospital," Kelly said.

If the hospital operates under MU's ownership, it can receive $2,700 daily per bed in federal reimbursements because the hospital is a teaching hospital on university property, according to the bill's committee summary. Currently, under the Health Department's ownership, the hospital receives $300 a day per bed, according to the summary.

Calls to the mental health center were not returned. The bill passed after its business hours.

The bill received no opposition in the House or in committee hearings, as Kelly said he expected.

"It's a big benefit to both the state and the university," Kelly said.

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