City Decides How Hepatitis Fine Will be Spent - 8 News NOW

Melissa Duran, Reporter

City Decides How Hepatitis Fine Will be Spent

Posted: Updated:
Christopher Lalli, Assist. District Attorney Christopher Lalli, Assist. District Attorney
Mayor Oscar Goodman Mayor Oscar Goodman

City leaders have decided on what they believe is the best way to spend $500,000 to help in the valley's current health crisis. Attorneys for the Endoscopy Center on Shadow Lane gave city leaders a half a million dollars one month ago as part of a civil fine.

The mayor immediately decided the money would go to help in the current health crisis, but several agencies requested it. Wednesday, we found out exactly who's going to get it.

It's not a lot of money when you consider the magnitude of the valley's current health crisis. Still, Metro, the district attorney's office and Nevada Health Centers all took a stab at getting a piece of $500,000 paid out to the city.

They all got their wish.

The city will give Metro $161,000 to partially pay them back for a company they hired to organize thousands of patient files.

"Metro put forth the money to get this company online because of the fact that we needed to move -- there was too much delay," said Capt. Al Salinas of Metro.

The district attorney's office will also get $100,000 to help with prosecution of the case. But if charges aren't filed in this hepatitis case, the DA's office won't get any money.

Christopher Lalli, Assist. District Attorney said, "We don't want this to be perceived as a money grab on behalf of the DA's office. We want the council to have the assurances that we wouldn't use this money unless a prosecution developed."

But the biggest chunk will go to those who need it most -- the patients. The city has dedicated $239,000 to get those infected with hepatitis C from that clinic the help they need. The money will be given out in a grant to Nevada Health Centers.

"Our role is one of bringing the community together to try to assist getting patients care regardless of their ability to pay," said Dr. Carl Heard, Nevada Health Centers, Inc.

Mayor Oscar Goodman is pleased with the city's decision on how to divvy up the money but says other government entities need to start pitching in.

"Step up. This council stepped up, I ask myself sometimes what would happen if this council didn't shut them down, it might still be going on," said Mayor Goodman. 

The city manager says they will work with Nevada Health Centers to figure out the best way to spend the money on patient treatment. NHC says that some money will probably be spent on patients who were infected with hepatitis C as a result of this clinic.

Email your comments to Reporter Melissa Duran.
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