I-Team: New Council for Mental Health Treatment Announced - 8 News NOW

I-Team: New Council for Mental Health Treatment Announced

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LAS VEGAS -- Governor Brian Sandoval says he's appalled after a new report about Nevada's alleged dumping of mental patients. The governor announced Monday he's forming a new council tasked with fixing Nevada's mental health treatment problem.

The I-Team previously reported on several hundred Greyhound bus receipts showing patients were sent all over the country. The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital says in the majority of cases, patients were being sent back to family members. However, reports uncovered by the I-Team revealed some patients had no connection to the places they were sent and they were sent with little to no direction or help.

The governor announced he's gathering a council of 20 political, health and law enforcement leaders to form the new "behavioral health council." This comes after a Sacramento Bee newspaper story over the weekend showing some patients at the Rawson-Neal hospital committed crimes in states they were bussed to.

Pennsylvania psychologist and Congressman Tim Murphy introduced a bill in Congress last Thursday getting Medicaid to pay for long-term outpatient care for the mentally-ill. The I-Team asked the director of the Mental Illness Policy Organization what that could mean for Nevada.

"When somebody goes into a state psychiatric hospital, they are 100 percent the state's responsibility. So Nevada learned that by kicking people out, they can make them Medicaid eligible. What's Murphy's bill would do is say that even if that person needs inpatient care, we will let Medicaid pay for that," J.D. Jaffe said.

As for the new report alleging Nevada knowingly released dangerous mentally ill patients into other states, the governor released a statement saying he "is disturbed by these allegations. An investigation is underway, and those responsible will be held accountable. This type of conduct is indefensible."

The governor hasn't named who will be on this new behavioral health council. His office says it's been in the works since May and there is no link to the timing of the announcement to the new allegations coming forward about patient busing.

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