State closes Atishwin Institute in Wichita

WICHITA, Kansas – The Kansas Department for Aging and Disabilities Services revoked the license of the Atishwin Institute, a Wichita group home and treatment provider for individuals with substance use disorders, after an inspection found unsafe living conditions.

Residents at the Atishwin institute in southeast Wichita spent Wednesday gathering their belongings, either going back home or to other rehab facilities across the state.

“There was just a lot of sorrow when we realized we all had to go,” Matthew McHale said as he was gathering his things from the home. “So there’s a lot of uncertainty for some people and some people are going home. I just feel bad for the place. I hope to see it come back.”

Residents say they were having a day out Tuesday when they were called back for a state inspection.

In that search, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services says it found numerous violations, including improper storage of drugs, insect and rodent infestations, and unsafe conditions like damaged fire alarms and broken glass and mirrors. It ordered Atishwin to shut down immediately.

Residents say they noticed more of those things in recent months, but wanted to keep their treatment going.

“Everything has room for improvement, just like us,” Scott Sears, a resident, said. “We had addictions and that’s why we’re here, to improve.”

“There were [sic] a few things about the place that might have been rough around the edges, but that’s not the point of the matter,” McHale said. “There was a lot of positivity here; a lot of people learned how to be actual people here.”

The operators of Atishwin have 15 days to file an appeal with the state. If not, the closure becomes permanent. KSN’s attempts to reach them late Wednesday were unsuccessful, but residents who spoke with them said they plan to appeal the decision.

Residents are getting help from the state with placement in new facilities,  but hope their current home comes back.

“I think without this treatment program, I think a lot of us would have been in prison or out there still using,” resident Cody Luther said.

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