Las Vegas Sun

April 24, 2014

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State OKs greater support for mental health programs

The state Board of Examiners today approved spending more money for beleaguered mental health programs in Nevada.

The board agreed to raise spending from $3.5 million to $5.3 million to provide housing and training for those with both mental and drug problems in the Las Vegas area.

The Southern Nevada Mental Health Services has a contact with Solutions Recovery for this program. The contract expires at the end of this month and the new contract calls for the increased payment and will go another year.

The examiners board is composed of the governor, secretary of state and the attorney general. It must approve contracts between state agencies and private groups.

Stacey Green, chief state health officer, told the board the state would provide the drugs and the psychiatric services to these individuals.

Solutions Recovery provides housing, employment training and personal care help.

Green said those in need are being taken off the street and are getting into the workforce. They frequently show up in hospital emergency rooms, so it is helping reduce this load also.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said, “This is an important piece to the puzzle” of the problems of the mental health system, particularly in Southern Nevada.

The three-member board also approved another contract involving the Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services that will pay $1.7 million to the school of medicine at UNR to have postgraduate psychiatric students work at the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and at Lake's Crossing in Reno.

Green said these graduate students, when in a residency program in Nevada, tend to stay in the state.

And the students will help with the mental health patients who are on criminal hold. Those in Southern Nevada, who need to be evaluated and deemed ready for trial, are flown to Lake’s Crossing for the treatment and then returned to Las Vegas.

When renovations are completed to the Stein Hospital in Las Vegas, there will be forensic beds fore these patients. Students will also add to the staff at Rawson-Neal.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has threatened to cut off federal payments by early November unless corrections are made in treating patients at Rawson-Neal

The hospital was criticized for sending patients by bus to their homes without a treatment program. And suits have been filed against the hospital for this practice.

The board also approved a $200,000 contract between the Office of Health Administration and the Nevada Health Centers that will continue mobile mammography services in Nevada for uninsured or underinsured women.

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