The Legislative Committee on Health Care begins holding interim meetings on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at 9 am. You can attend in-person or watch the hearing through online streaming. Both options have instructions on this page: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/InterimCommittee/REL/Interim2019/Meeting/5508
You can also review the League of Women Voters of Nevada Guide to Advocacy During the Interim, which provides information for watching hearing recordings, here: https://lwvnvblog.org/advocacy-during-the-interim/
Item VIII on the Health Care Committee agenda focuses on the Behavioral Health Crisis Response in Nevada (see below under Resources). The League of Women Voters of Nevada has prioritized addressing the deficiencies in Nevada’s mental and behavioral health care system and we are emphasizing advocacy during this interim legislative session. So, this Wednesday we’ll have our first opportunity to start interim engagement on one of our priorities.
Stephanie Woodard, Psy.D., Senior Advisor on Behavioral Health, and Dawn Yohey, Clinical Program Planner will review the state of behavioral health care in Nevada for the Committee on Health Care, starting with why Nevada ranks 51st in the Mental Health America 2020 report. In sum, if there is a problem with mental and behavioral health care, we have that problem in Nevada. You can read more here:
In 2019 we know that behavioral and mental health issues can start early in life, yet Nevada suffers severe shortages of behavioral health services and providers for children and their families. And our school systems struggle to offer behavioral health support in the education setting, where it is easier to engage with children and their families.
We are spending millions of dollars cycling adults who need mental health treatment through our emergency rooms with few if any positive results. We are sending children out of state, away from their families, for behavioral health treatment not available in Nevada.
We expect our first-responders to aid adults who have lost family support due to the overwhelming burden we place on families as they struggle to support sons, daughters, wives, and husbands suffering from diseases of the brain that are no less real than diseases of other body systems.
We are in a crisis because it is a heavy lift to create a new behavioral and mental health system that produces better results from scratch, yet if we continue on the current path our behavioral and mental health problems will only get worse. We will waste millions of dollars, destroy thousands of lives, and achieve worsening results.
Improvements in education outcomes, reductions in homelessness, and drops in incarceration rates will be out of reach until we dedicate ourselves to creating a better mental and behavioral health care system.
Anyone who thinks we are somehow saving money by not funding open access to behavioral and mental health care should look at the amounts we are spending on Legal 2000 medical holds, on expecting public safety officers to double a mental health intake officers, and on warehousing the mentally ill in our jails and prisons.
If you can attend the November 20th Legislative Health Care Committee hearing, please consider speaking during the public comment period at the beginning or end of the meeting in support of Dr. Woodard’s efforts to create a rationale and responsive behavioral and mental health care system.
- We need workforce development to address our behavioral health professional shortages.
- We need dedicated analysists who can construct an integrated behavioral health care system that produces better outcomes.
- We need to recognize and rectify the fact that our current system has imposed homelessness and incarceration on community members who instead need access to medical treatment.
- We need to admit that our behavioral and mental health crisis is also a civil rights crisis.
If you cannot attend the hearing, please consider submitted comments to the Health Care Committee:
- Assemblywoman Lesley E. Cohen, Chair Lesley.Cohen@asm.state.nv.us
- Senator Julia Ratti, Vice-Chair Julia.Ratti@sen.state.nv.us
- Senator Joseph (Joe) Hardy, M.D. Joe.Hardy@sen.state.nv.us
- Senator Joyce Woodhouse Joyce.Woodhouse@sen.state.nv.us
- Assemblywoman Connie Munk Connie.Munk@asm.state.nv.us
- Assemblywoman Robin L. Titus, M.D. Robin.Titus@asm.state.nv.us