$36 million needed to cure hepatitis C in Nevada prisons, lawmakers told | NevadaAppeal.com
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$36 million needed to cure hepatitis C in Nevada prisons, lawmakers told

The legislative Interim Finance Committee on Thursday voted to approve just over $7 million for phase one of a program to cure Nevada prison inmates of hepatitis C.

By the time the program is complete, prison officials say it will cost Nevada $36.7 million to cure all of the infected inmates.

The $7 million covers the “priority one” infected inmates who will be treated between now and April — 400 in all. There are more than 2,400 inmates who need treatment and, under a federal court consent decree, they are all entitled to treatment.

IFC was also informed the governor’s office has accepted $421.9 million in supplemental funding for the Lost Wages Assistance program. That program through the federal Emergency Management Agency provide $300 a week for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants and regular unemployment benefits claimants for up to six weeks. Many have already received the first $900 for three weeks of benefits.

Elisa Cafferatta, acting head of the Employment, Training and Rehabilitation department, said more payments will be sent next week and the following week until the money runs out. When the cash is gone, the payments will stop.

Lawmakers agreed to fund three added forester positions for Kasey K.C., the state forester. She said they are needed to provide support with the NV Energy program cleaning up areas around power lines and infrastructure vulnerable to wildfires across the state.

Those three added positions will double her foresters handling those tasks along with NV Energy officials, cleaning out brush and other material around power poles along 621 miles of power lines in the state.

They approved a $347,467 investigative study of what’s happening to the South Fork Dam in northeast Nevada. That earthen dam is leaking at its base and an initial inspection indicated that the foundation of the dam was in danger of collapse if something isn’t done. The dam holds back a reservoir of 11,000 acres with a depth of 65 feet and experts say if it collapses, there would be serious danger of loss off life and economic damage across the area. The study will tell officials what has to be done to prevent that and how much it will cost.

They approved $1.35 million to pay fire suppression bills already incurred from this summer’s fires. But K.C. said Nevada will recoup some of that from the services its firefighters provided to the federal government and other states.

Finally, lawmakers accepted a $2.17 million grant from the Recreational Trails Program and the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to pay for the construction and maintenance of recreational trails in Nevada.