Sandoval speaks on patient-dumping

The Brian Sandoval cocoon opened briefly Wednesday for News 3’s Kelsey Thomas, and here’s some of what the governor said, with my annotations:

“When I learned about the issue...that happened a couple years ago, I was appalled. It was unacceptable and we were ere going to get to the bottom of it and ensure it doesn’t happen again ...As a parent it concerns me there was a sexual offender out in the community.”

If he was appalled at the beginning, Sandoval didn’t show it. The administration downplayed all of this until it could no more.

“When I first built my budget….we increased funding for mental health treatment...Part of the motivation for expanding Medicaid was to expand services for the mentally ill. As part of my budget...we’ve increased many different things, even after the legislative session was over...we increased funding for mental health by over 30 million dollars.”

Sandoval deserves credit for expanding Medicaid and for the $30 million infusion. But there is still a long way to go -- $80 million has been cut – and mental health has been ignored or given short shrift for decades.

“Mistakes have been made. and we’ve corrected those mistakes. We’ve ensured that our policies and procedures are followed….We're not making any excuses. Mistakes were made. Policies and procedures that were in place, had they been followed, these things would not have happened. But we're going to ensure that the policies and procedures are followed and as we move forward, we're going to continue and improve our health care system.”

Yes, Sandoval did not set the policies. But like any governor, he didn’t know what they were until they went wrong. This is an institutional failure brought on my cancerous neglect and lack of funding.

“When individuals are transported to another state...they’re going home...and there were some mistakes made and we’ve owned up to those mistakes and corrected those mistakes and made sure that they never happen again but these individuals when they’re traveling back to California or whatever state you point out--- they want to go home. We make arrangements for family members to come and meet  them and bring them back home and we ensure that every individual who goes to another state is chaperoned, so that they can be in their home environment.”

The governor is right here. They have to send many of these patients who came to Nevada back to family and friends. But they should be sent when they are ready to travel and not alone.

“I think the important point to note is we can't continue to be reactionary in all this. We need to be very thoughtful.  We need to be very thorough.”

Reactionary? Alas, that’s what this state is in too many areas. It’s long past time that state government was more proactive than reactive. But that rarely happens at any level of government until a crisis occurs, which is the trajectory here.