Lawmakers restore mental health funding

Nevada lawmakers have voted to restore funding for rural mental health clinics, keeping open nine clinics of the eleven that Gov. Jim Gibbons proposed to close.

The Senate-Assembly budget committee members had previously decided to make the rural clinics a priority, and stuck with that plan on Tuesday.

Their decision would mean that the Dayton clinic, closed in September, would remain shut down. People who got care in Dayton were redirected to a Carson City clinic. The clinic in Wendover also would close. By adding nine clinics back into the budget, lawmakers must find about $1 million in revenue. The panel also:

- Approved the governor's recommendation to eliminate some medication funding. The Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services had requested to add back $300,000 in each of the coming two fiscal years to cover an additional 200 people needing medication, but the committee rejected the request after debate.

- Cut the additional medication funding and to send a letter to the division stating that it should request money from IFC if necessary.

- Approved the governor's recommendation to eliminate four positions in an outpatient mental health care program, which would have allowed nearly 50 more clients into that program.

- Added back 17 of 96 positions the governor proposed to cut primarily from the Rawson-Neal mental health facility in Las Vegas, which would cost over

$1.6 million during the next two fiscal years.

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