Geoff Dornan

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October 16, 2012
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Reorganizations part of proposed budgets

State officials are hoping to improve efficiency and possibly save some money in the proposed budget by reorganizing several agencies.

The biggest change is the plan to split up the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services. Mental Health would move over to the Health Division along with SAPTA, the substance abuse agency.

Health and Human Services Director Mike Willden said that makes sense, especially with the number of mental health patients who have co-occurring substance abuse and/or physical disorders already served through the Health Division.

He said numerous other states have combined mental health with their public health programs and it seems to work better. That way there would be a single application for services, a single portal to provide them and a single administration to run the programs.

Developmental Services would join Aging to create a Division of Aging and Disabled Services including early intervention services. Director of Administration Jeff Mohlenkamp said that agency would provide those individuals with uninterrupted services from infancy through their senior years.

"It becomes the disabled services division of the state," he said.

Willden said young clients particularly may have to go through three different divisions to get all the services needed. Then, he said, as the children age out of one program, they can move seamlessly into the next program without making application to another agency and continue to move through the system as they become seniors.

In addition, several food services will be combined within the existing Department of Agriculture. That includes the currently independent Dairy Commission, Commodity Foods, which is managed by Purchasing, and the K-12 school nutrition programs. Mohlenkamp said the common thread there is that all those programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Finally, he said the Nevada Division of Forestry is moving to get out of the all-services business and convert its fire teams into a purely wildland firefighting agency. That means telling three counties including the Mount Charleston area of Clark County to take care of their own business unless it's a wildland fire.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Oct 16, 2012 05:20AM Published Oct 16, 2012 05:19AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.