Las Vegas Sun

August 30, 2015

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Nevada fails to seek reimbursement for mental health services

CARSON CITY — The state has lost millions of federal dollars because it has failed to seek reimbursement from the federal government for mental health services, lawmakers learned Thursday.

In a budget hearing on the mental health budget, Richard Whitley, the state’s mental health division administrator, said that while 27 percent of the state’s patients are covered by Medicaid, the state is billing for only a small fraction of that. In fiscal year 2012, the state paid $5.8 million that should have been picked up by Medicaid.

Whitley said, “Hundreds of people were eligible (for Medicaid) but we were not billing Medicaid.”

He said the federal Affordable Care Act will mean 56 percent of the clients will be Medicaid eligible in fiscal year 2015 and the federal government will pick up all the costs. The Medicaid patients will increase from 2,207 in 2012 to 8,608 in 2015.

The budget subcommittee also reviewed the state’s plan to close the downtown Las Vegas mental health clinic and move it to the Rawson-Neal Hospital. Under that plan, the clinic would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week instead of from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bus passes would be provided to clients who need transportation to the new clinic, which is five miles away from the current location.

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