Last week we celebrated another major milestone - the Interim Finance Committee (IFC) of the Nevada Legislature approved releasing the UNLV School of Medicine's remaining $18.4 million over the next two years. We already received $8.3 million from the governor's budget earlier this year. With the release of these funds we now have our full funding of $26.7 million to cover the school's start up costs.
The IFC plays a very important role. The committee was created by the 1969 legislature to administer contingency funds between sessions, especially important when the legislation only convenes every two years. It's composed of members of the Nevada Senate Committee on Finance and the Nevada Assembly Committee on Ways and Means from the preceding session. Assemblyman Paul Anderson is chair of the committee and Senator Ben Kieckhefer is vice chair.
Drs. Schwenk and Atkinson
At the IFC meeting last Thursday, I outlined the school's milestones related to our accreditation process and the transition between the UNLV School of Medicine and the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM) in Las Vegas. Over the next two years, UNSOM faculty who want to join the UNLV medical school will be offered positions. The UNSOM residency programs and clinical programs in Las Vegas will transition to our school as well. These transitions require a lot of planning and the creation of new processes and programs.
UNSOM Dean Thomas Schwenk was also on hand to discuss how he would use the additional $3.5 million appropriated to hire more faculty and staff positions in Reno as they transition out of Las Vegas. Dean Schwenk and I are working together to ensure the expansion of public medical education in Nevada benefits the entire state.
While waiting to provide testimony I had the opportunity to listen to many interesting discussions on topics ranging from whether the Nevada's Columbia spotted frog is a species or a subspecies and related to that, whether or not it should is endangered, to ensuring children on Medicaid get the appropriate services.
Dr. Tracey Green, chief medical officer of the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health requested on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services of Nevada, a large federal grant be accepted to monitor the child and adolescent behavioral services provided by Medicaid. In the past, the children were mostly uninsured but now 82 percent are covered by Medicaid. When these children had no insurance, the state provided their psychiatric and behavioral health care and covered the cost. This federal grant was created to ensure new health care providers deliver the care the state expects the children and adolescents to receive.
A heartfelt thanks to Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Nevada Legislature, and especially the members of the IFC for their continued support.