Examiners’ decisions will save state money | NevadaAppeal.com

Examiners’ decisions will save state money

The Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved an $8 million contract that officials say will actually save the state $4 million a year.

Health Care Finance and Policy Administrator Charles Duarte told the board the contract is for APS Healthcare Midwest to provide intensive management for some of the most severe Medicaid clients the state serves.

He said about 15 percent of Medicaid recipients “drive 70 percent of Medicaid expenses.” He said they are generally senior citizens with multiple, chronic medical problems who have trouble managing their conditions without help.

As a result, he said, “they don’t get proper care at the proper time” and end up receiving very expensive treatment in emergency rooms.

APS, he said, will provide people to work with those patients and manage their health problems. He said APS as well as his office is convinced the company will save the state a significant amount of money.

The board, consisting of the governor, secretary of state and attorney general, also approved hiring an additional investment officer for the treasurer’s office to handle a workload that has increased dramatically during the past five years.

Chief of Staff Renee Lequerica said the position will cost the state $125,007. But she said it will largely eliminate the need for this year’s $483,000 contract with consultants now helping manage the state’s investments.

Nevada has several billion dollars invested in the general portfolio, permanent school fund, higher education trust fund and local government funds.

The general portfolio alone, according to documents provided to the board, has increased 120 percent in the past five years.

The additional analyst will bring the investment management staff to three.

In addition, the board approved $24,000 for the Parole Board to pay hearing officers.

Board spokesman David Smith said when the funding application was filed those hearing officers will enable the board to form up to six two-member panels a day on most parole hearings.

He said that will greatly speed up the process of hearing and paroling the less serious criminals who qualify for early release under legislation passed in 2007.

The board put on hold a contract to lease state land to a contractor developing an industrial park that will provide jobs to inmates at High Desert and Southern Desert prisons.

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto questioned the proposed 99 year lease saying she was concerned about committing the state to a private developer for that long.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.


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