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Health Care | IndyBlog | Legislature

Lawmakers approve $300,000 in funding to start up Patient Protection Commission

A recently installed cat scan as seen at the Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital in Elko on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Nevada lawmakers have approved nearly $300,000 in funding for the nascent Patient Protection Commission, an advisory health-care panel that was one of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s top priorities in the last legislative session.

With little discussion, lawmakers on the Interim Finance Committee voted to approve spending a little more than $296,000 through the 2020 fiscal year to fund equipment costs and the salaries of a commission executive director, policy analyst and administrative assistant for the commission.

Those salaried positions will assist the commission in its assigned task of conducting a top-to-bottom review of issues in the state’s health-care system. It will be composed of 11 industry representatives and patient advocates appointed by the governor, including:

  • Two experts in patient advocacy;
  • Two health care provider representatives;
  • Two hospital representatives;
  • Two health insurer representatives;
  • One academic engaging in the study of health care policy or public health;
  • One pharmaceutical representative, and;
  • One representative of the general public.

The commission will have no regulatory authority, but is allowed to submit three bill draft requests every legislative session. 

Although state lawmakers in 2019 voted unanimously to approve SB544, which created the framework and responsibilities of the Patient Protection Commission, the legislation itself contained no funding in the state budget for staff positions.

Instead, the funds will come from a legislative contingency account; the spending was approved by the Board of Examiners (composed of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state) last week. A memorandum submitted to lawmakers regarding the funding request stated that the governor’s office will seek nearly $358,000 in annual funding for the commission for the next fiscal year.

Applications for the 11 spots on the commission close on Aug. 30.

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