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New contract expected to reduce medical calls to Nevada Cares Campus

By Bob Conrad

The Washoe Board of County Commissioners yesterday approved a $520,000 contract with MedHealth to provide basic medical care at the Nevada Cares Campus.

The campus, since opening in May of 2021, gets as many as a dozen calls for service each day. Those include calls for law enforcement and medical services.

Washoe County took over campus operations from the City of Reno in September of 2021.

The funding for the half-million dollars is coming from federal COVID relief funds. 

Commissioner Vaughn Hartung questioned why the three local hospitals are not contributing to the contract, since it will directly benefit them.

“These folks would end up in the emergency departments of Renown, St. Mary’s and Northern Nevada [Medical Center],” he said.

“We can save them a lot of money, one, and two, it takes the pressure off of those emergency rooms where there’s a certain segment of the population that’s using it as their [general practitioners],” Hartung added. “It’s not a pejorative comment; it’s the truth.”  

Washoe County’s Dana Searcy said the contract “is focused on our boo-boos, our open sores, our emergency triage, so that we can cut the request to 911 services, so that we can save that response for the rest of the community. 

“We’re seeing some very large numbers of response to the campus each day, and we’re finding that many of those responses are things that could be handled with a nurse, or a little bit of care, before we get to the point of transporting somebody to the emergency room,” she added.

Hartung said he was supportive of the contract but said other regional entities should also play a role. 

Other commission approvals

Written by Washoe County staff and edited by This Is Reno

Board approves grant to fund new positions at Northern Nevada HOPES

The Washoe County Department of Alternative Sentencing received a state grant for its Support in Treatment, Accountability, and Recovery (STAR) Program, which was unanimously approved by the Board. The $440,000 grant from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services will fund four new full-time positions: one alternative sentencing officer, one mental health counselor, one case manager and one grants coordinator. 

The funding will also cover two part-time peer-support specialists contracted through Northern Nevada HOPES, and program training costs and operating expenses. The grant approval is retroactive to April 1, 2022, and will continue through February 2023.

Commission awards funds to Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation

Hartung allocated $20,000 from the District 4 Special Funds to support the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF). NNCCF provides emotional and financial support for approximately 120 local children fighting cancer. The funding covers needs such as medical, household, educational and travel expenses related to cancer treatment.

“When you have a sick child, you go into fight mode and you don’t know which way to turn, you’re focused on trying to get that child well,” Hartung said. “I think we’re called to do these kinds of things for our community because this is really about our community and people in our community who are in the struggle of their lives.

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