Review-Journal investigation spurs call for mental health reform

Nevada health officials are examining how the state could license consultants who transfer mentally ill people to unregulated group homes, a step prompted by a Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation that highlighted the death of a suicidal woman after she was placed in an unsupervised residence.

“This story has been really motivating for people,” said Julie Kotchevar, deputy director at the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. “It’s certainly been motivating for me to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

At a legislative meeting Monday, Kotchevar presented lawmakers with an idea: Broaden the state statute that governs “referral agencies” to require anyone doing that type of work to obtain a license. Currently, state law requires a license only for businesses that refer patients to “residential facilities for groups.”

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