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BCC, LSH excited about new training

Larned State Hospital Superintendent Dr. Tom Kinlen praised Barton Community College staff Thursday for creating a program that will allow LSH employees to advance in their careers and better serve patients. A program for a Mental Health Technician certificate is expected to begin by the fall of 2015, college trustees were told at their monthly study session.
Dr. Kathy Kottas, BCC’s executive director of nursing and health-care education, said the classes will be offered only to select LSH employees at first, and the hospital will pay for most of their tuition.
“This is a really exciting program,” Kottas said. She will present it to the Kansas State Board of Nursing next Tuesday. From there it will go to the Kansas Board of Regents and the Department of Education.
The state’s other psychiatric hospital, located at Osawatomie, is also working on developing an MHT program for its employees. MHTs will be similar to Licensed Mental Health Technicians, who were used extensively until the 1990s, when the hospitals shifted to using more Licensed Practical Nurses. However, the new programs are being created “from scratch,” Kottas said.
Dean Elaine Simmons said BCC was involved in training LMHTs 30 years ago, and the college has continued to collaborate with Larned State Hospital over the years. “We worked together on computer training and quality management training,” she said.
It takes time to bring a good idea to a state of completion, Simmons said, noting discussions about an MHT program started nearly two years ago.
“This project is the full-blown model of what partnership is supposed to look like.”
“What Elaine is saying is definitely spot-on,” Kinlen said. “When we reach out to Barton, you guys are responsive. I am very proud to say Larned State Hospital has been partnering with Barton this long.”
Kinlen is also an associate instructor for the college. He usually teaches psychology at outreach sites such as St. John.