City officials endorse health district bill |

City officials endorse health district bill

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

The Carson City Board of Supervisors endorsed a bill Thursday that could save the city money and improve health care in the region.

The bill would allow one or more counties to form a regional district board to govern health care. The proposed district would be made up of Carson City, Lyon, Douglas and Storey counties.

The district would have the power to raise sales taxes a quarter of a cent and property taxes 15 cents for every $100 of assessed value.

Carson Mayor Bob Crowell called the district “a big step” that would be “financially and medically efficient” for the city.

The existing county health care services likely would be managed by the district along with the state health care services the district chose to take over.

Mental health clinics are some of the state services the district might look at first.

The state closed rural mental health care clinics in Dayton and Fernley this summer because of budget problems. The Nevada Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services still runs clinics in Carson City, Silver Springs and Gardnerville, but more cuts are possible under Gov. Jim Gibbons’ proposed budget.

Mary Walker, a lobbyist for the city, told supervisors the bill would make other counties in the district help pay for the Carson City health care their residents use. All four communities would help pay for a patient who went to a Carson City clinic, she said.

The district would manage all health services not covered by the state in the four communities. Any resident in the district could use any of the services in any of the locations within the district. Any tax increases would be raised

evenly in the four counties in the district.

This also would bring all public health care services under one umbrella, Walker said. Patients get lost in the mix of state services, she said.

“It’s just not an efficient system at all,” she said.

Joseph McEllistrem, a forensic psychologist for the Carson City jail, said 12 percent of jail inmates take medication for mental illnesses. The cost of treating an inmate at the jail is about double what it is at a clinic, he said.

Supervisor Pete Livermore said the bill would ease the city’s costs of mental health care at the jail. All counties would contribute to all designated health care costs in all the counties, he said.

Walker said in an interview she hopes to get the bill to the Legislature in about a month. If it passes, counties could start hearings on establishing the district in the fall, she said.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.

– A new charge was added to the phone lines in the city to improve the city’s emergency telephone system. The charge will be 25 cents a month for most phone lines and $2.50 for each large commercial line, know as a trunk line. A large business could have several trunk lines. The charges will take effect in 30 and 90 days.

– The Carson Nugget was fined $500 for selling alcohol to a minor for the second time within six months.

– The employees of the Country Store have to attend an alcohol server training class because the store sold alcohol to minors for the second time in six months.