Nevadans' health needs studied

The Legislative Committee on Health Care began a wide-ranging study of health issues and needs in Nevada on Tuesday.

Chairman Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, said the goal is to produce a comprehensive report on the status of health care at every level, focusing on access to care and quality of care.

"We want to come up with a viable plan that future Legislatures can look at so that we're not reacting to emergencies, but being proactive," he said.

Washington said the committee has a $320,000 budget to hire a consultant to produce a report.

He said lawmakers will take a look at all public and private health-care facilities in Nevada and at the state's health-care professionals.

"Where are we falling short? What specialists are we having shortages in?" Washington asked.

He said they will study the state's insurance system, examining what is available and needed, and look at pharmacy coverage in Nevada the same way, evaluating what insurance programs, discounts and insurance coverage are available.

As part of that, Washington said the study will also look into what employers are providing for workers.

He said educational programs for health-care providers will be examined to see what Nevada has and what is needed, and a thorough examination will be made of state public health care-programs and facilities.

Washington said he wants to focus on what's in existence, what is needed and how to get there.

"We're not going to spend a whole bunch of time listening to gripes and complaints," he said. "We're looking for solutions."

He said if they do the job well, lawmakers will have a blueprint outlining the state's health-care needs when they meet in 2007.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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