Committees OK adding $3M to Health Division budgets

Lawmakers rejected Gov. Brian Sandoval’s plan to have non-state workers provide three-quarters of Early Intervention Services to children, citing concerns that the necessary community providers might not be there.

Thursday’s decision means the state will have to add 37 more developmental specialists to the EIS program to cover costs of maintaining the 50-50 split between community and state providers.

That will cost the general fund an additional $2.26 million over the biennium.

Staffers advised lawmakers that testimony in the joint subcommittee indicated that, while there are providers in certain specialties to help the medically fragile children who need EIS, there was concern that other specialties didn’t have the capacity to handle the added cases.

“This is government in its most basic form trying to help people who cannot necessarily help themselves,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.

The consensus in the subcommittee, he said, was that going from putting half to three-quarters of the case load in community providers’ hands was too big a step until members know better what services those providers can handle.

The decision accounts for the vast majority of the $2.97 million added to the governor’s recommended Health Division budgets.

The Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees also approved adding $1.85 million in pharmaceutical rebate funding to the communicable-diseases program, bringing total rebate revenue to $3.1 million in each of the next two years.

In addition, they added $1 million in tobacco-settlement money to the Tobacco Cessation and Surveillance programs.

The approvals also add three administrative assistant positions at the Lyon County Nursing clinic. Lyon County will pay the $237,003 cost.

In addition, the two committees jointly approved the budget for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange; it includes establishing fees to collect a projected total of $14.42 million over the next two years from those who will be covered by the exchange.

That funding will come from a $4.95-a-month fee for members.

Kieckhefer said he is still having difficulty with that fee because he is concerned that incorporating it into the overall insurance premiums could shift some of he cost of financing the exchange to people purchasing insurance outside the exchange.


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