(Las Vegas, KXNT) A local clinic aimed at helping mental health patients in crisis has no choice but to close its doors on Friday because they are not able to meet federal regulations.

The Behavioral Health Clinic, that is adjacent to Rawson-Neal Pyschiatric Hospital, will shut down after business hours on Friday.  According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires the clinic to operate as a medical emergency room, ready to respond to a range of medical problems from heart attacks to broken arms.  However, state officials argue that was never the intent of the facility.

“We just don’t have the capacity to expand to that level of a full emergency room,” stated Mary Woods, Department of Health and Human Services Public Information Officer.

The Behavioral Health Clinic opened in July 2013 to help ease congestion of Las Vegas emergency rooms.  Instead of mental health patients flocking to local ERs to be treated for depression or other mental health issues, they could go to the clinic for assessment.  Staff at the clinic would then make the determination whether the patient should be admitted to Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital.

With this closure, Nevada State Health Officer Dr. Tracey Green says mental health patients in crisis will have no choice but to go to a Las Vegas emergency room for assessment.

“It is very frustrating because now there is a lack of a level of service that we want to provide to the clients in Las Vegas, ” expalined Dr. Green.

Dr. Green vows to keep looking for solutions to help mental health clients.

“We are going to continue to look for opportunities to serve these clients and it is the goal of Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health and the Division of Public and Behavioral Health to find ways to be serve these clients without having to go to the emergency room,” said Dr. Green.

The employees currently working at the clinic still have jobs, but will be moved within Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services.


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