An agreement between Carson City and the state of Nevada, approved Thursday by the Board of Supervisors, could position the city's health department to start billing insurance companies for immunizations provided to its clients.
The agreement provides nearly $540,000 from the Nevada State Health Division's Bureau of Child, Family and Community Wellness to the city's Health and Human Resources Department to be used for personnel and operating expenses needed to create a plan for billing within Nevada local health departments.
"As a health department, we have a large inventory (of vaccines) on hand because we are the safety net," Director Marena Works of the city agency told supervisors.
Currently, billing private insurance for immunizations in a health department setting is problematic, she said, so any clients who come in for immunizations are billed full price. They then must submit the bill themselves to their insurance companies.
Works said she suspects the reason is that the health department doesn't have a physician on site.
"We use nurse-practitioners and registered nurses, so there's probably just some misunderstanding," she said.
The funding, which originates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, will be used to support one part-time and three full-time employees to develop a strategic plan for billing insurance companies for immunizations at the three local health departments in Nevada - Carson City, Clark County and Washoe County.
The hope is that the program developed by Carson City will lead to increased revenue for immunization services and help the departments sustain an in-house insurance biller after the interlocal funds run out.
"We don't want to step on the toes of private physicians, so we do it in cooperation with them. We have a good relationship with the health care providers in town, and we try to keep those lines of communication open," Works said.
In other matters Thursday, the board:
• Approved funding of about $1.9 million to Douglas County, and about $1.6 million to Washoe County from the voter-approved state Question 1 fund for the Tahoe Bikeway.
• Participated in a presentation of $950 from AT&T to the city's Alternative Sentencing Department for a graffiti abatement paint fund.
• Presented a proclamation for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
• Presented a proclamation recognizing the significance of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
Acting as the Liquor and Entertainment Board, officials:
• Approved Jenjira Rodboon as the liquor manager for Sushi Delight, at 111 E. Telegraph St.
• Approved Richard Gardner as the liquor manager for the Red Hut Cafe, at 4385 S. Carson St. The business is scheduled to open in the old Woody's, near El Charro Avitia, in early December.