Funding approved Tuesday will result in 58 beds, 42 of them “forensic beds” for mentally ill offenders awaiting evaluation, to the 190 beds at Rawson-Neal mental health hospital in Clark County.
The work will be part of $3.1 million worth of renovations to the old Stein Hospital on the Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services campus. The Board of Examiners approved spending the money from the contingency fund.
The original state budget called for renovating only part of the hospital. But when the backlog of patients needing mental evaluation in Southern Nevada emergency rooms began to grow, state officials decided they needed more beds in the south.
Their first plan was to cannibalize the capital improvement project upgrading and repairing Lake’s Crossing hospital for mentally ill offenders in Sparks.
Members of the Interim Finance Committee from both parties and both ends of the state objected to that plan, saying the projects at Lake’s are “critical life-safety” improvements that will also qualify that hospital to begin billing Medicare for upwards of $1 million a year.
Lawmakers sent the plan back to the governor’s office, saying both projects badly need to be done and that the extra money should come out of the contingency fund.
The board consists of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state. They approved the expenditure, which now will be forwarded to the upcoming Interim Finance Committee meeting Aug. 29 for final approval.
Health Division Administrator Richard Whitley said work on the Lake’s Crossing projects should begin as early as 60 days from now. The southern project will take more planning before renovation can begin.