Governor’s Office of Consumer Assistance closes in Carson |

Governor’s Office of Consumer Assistance closes in Carson

Staff reports

The Governor’s Office of Consumer Health Assistance is closing its doors in Carson City.

The four positions in the office will be moved to Las Vegas to consolidate the staff and put them closer to most of their clients.

The office was created to provide a place for consumers and injured workers to go for help in understanding their rights under health care plans. It handles about 2,000 consumer cases a year, providing information, counseling, education and advocacy. Its budget is about $650,000 a year, but in a report to lawmakers, the office estimates it will help save consumers $850,000 this year.

Valerie Rosalin, the registered nurse who runs the office, said the move will help the office’s employees work together better.

She said those employees — two phone operators, the operations manager and the workmans compensation caseworker — will have their current posts until the move June 30. She said the delay will “hopefully” give them time to find placement in another state job.

They will be on a priority list for those positions.

Rosalin said the office has built integrity with consumers, medical providers and policy makers since it started and expects to expand its responsibilities in the future.

Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said the move is designed to put the people where the consumers who need help are.

“If’s an efficiency move,” said Buckley, who authored the legislation creating the office.

She said the move doesn’t mean the office won’t help Northern Nevadans who need an advocate on health issues.

She said the office was created as “an intermediary when patients are being denied procedures or treatment by their HMOs or (health) plans.”

The office also includes the state’s Office for Hospital Patients, which helps consumers in dealings with hospitals. Buckley said her plan this session is to create a prescription help desk within the office.