Las Vegas Sun

May 27, 2015

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Embattled mental hospital to get more money

The Legislature is agreeing with Gov. Brian Sandoval to set aside additional money for the criticized Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and to divert funds to pursue a drone research project for Nevada.

The general appropriations act, one bill to finance state government for the next two fiscal years, was presented to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee today. It calls for spending $1.9 billion next fiscal year and $2 billion the following year.

The act sets aside $3 million to hire additional staff and make other corrections at the mental hospital in Las Vegas. This would be placed in a contingency fund and the spending would have to be approved by the Interim Finance Committee.

The federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services cited the hospital for sending patients out of state to their homes without an adequate treatment plan.

The federal agency will conduct an unannounced inspection to see that the correction plan by the state has been put in place and the hospital still qualifies for Medicaid and Medicare funds to treat patients.

In addition, some $5 million is being set aside in the budget to finance efforts for the state to be chosen as one of six national sites for the commercial testing of unmanned drones.

Also unveiled was a $102.7 million program for construction for the next two years. It will include $4.9 million for the design of the UNLV hotel administration building.

The building will cost an estimated $50 million and the state will pay 60 percent, with the rest coming from private donations for the construction.

The appropriations act generally dictates how the state general fund is spent. It does not include the estimated $1.2 billion in annual aid to local school districts or the pay plan for state workers.

And an authorization act, which involves federal and other dollars, will be sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee.

Traditionally these bills are passed without major changes.

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