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Nevada lawmakers ponder cuts to mental health programs

By Michelle Rindels

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, March 29 2011 12:53 p.m. MDT

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada lawmakers say a program to transport mentally ill people from the streets to treatment centers could be a bus to nowhere if it comes along with cuts to the treatment centers themselves.

Legislators weighed the governor's proposed transportation program Tuesday at a budget subcommittee hearing. It would cost about $3 million over the upcoming biennium.

Proponents say mentally ill patients end up languishing in emergency rooms for days because they lack transportation to mental hospitals.

But mental health workers in Clark County said they would rather use the money to backfill a proposed cut in Community Triage Centers, which provide emergency care to people having psychotic episodes.

State general funds supply one-third of the money to operate the triage centers. Gov. Brian Sandoval's budget calls for cutting that support.

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