Las Vegas Sun Examines Progress of Nevada’s New Office of Minority Health
The Las Vegas Sun on Wednesday examined the Nevada Office of Minority Health, which launched in January 2006 to focus on improving health care for minorities in the Las Vegas Valley. On Wednesday, the agency held its first disparities conference.
Minorities comprise more than 50% of the Las Vegas Valley population, according to the Sun. Nevada Assembly member Morse Arberry (D) sponsored the bill to create the agency. Previously, Nevada was one of five states without an office designated to address minority health issues.
The agency to date has "spent almost $400,000, with little to show for itself," the Sun reports. The agency's "Web site calendar for the year to date is nearly empty," and it "took more than a year to form an advisory committee," according to the Sun. In addition, the office has yet to permanently fill its agency manager position.
In accordance with the law creating the agency, the office produced a report that it filed with the governor's office, but the report did not include any findings or recommendations. Four of the report's 10 pages included a list of partner agencies, according to the Sun. Mae Norris, the agency's interim manager, said, "Due to time constraints and other issues, there's not much in the report." She also said that the lack of information on the agency's Web site is related to low staffing levels. Norris added, "I'm aware that a lot of things should be done. It's just that they're not."
Richard Whitley, deputy administrator for the Nevada Health Division, said lawmakers have asked the agency to develop more detailed benchmarks for the future (Pratt, Las Vegas Sun, 8/15).