Mental health public safety concern in Carson City

Two presentations on public health at Thursday’s Board of Supervisors meeting led to a discussion on mental health, one of Carson City’s most pressing health issues.

“Demand for services is skyrocketing. It’s gone up fourfold in the last 10 years,” said Sheriff Kenny Furlong, referring specifically to demand on public safety departments, including fire and police. “Something has to happen before the system breaks under the weight of the demand for services.”

Furlong sits on the Board of Health, which includes the supervisors as well as Chair Susan Pintar and regularly meets during board of supervisors meetings.

Furlong questioned why public safety isn’t asked to participate in formal assessments that are used to measure the area’s needs and address problems.

His question came during a presentation on a recent site visit by the Public Health Accreditation Board to Carson City Health and Human Services and followed a presentation on a recent health needs assessment conducted by Carson Tahoe Health.

Taylor Radtke, MRC coordinator, said CCHHS does four assessments every five years, including one involving partners that include public safety personnel.

That two-day meeting is tentatively planned for late August, said Radtke.

Carson Tahoe’s Health assessment, done every three years and most recently conducted by Professional Research Consultants Inc., involves surveys of residents and stakeholders that didn’t include the city’s public safety departments.

“These are two different health assessments. The community assessment the city is doing involves fire and safety,” said Nick Marano, city manager. “It does seem to be a gap in the Carson Tahoe health assessment.”

Both assessments cover a wide range of health topics, from access to healthcare to heart disease, but mental health as well as substance abuse are often at the top of the list of concerns.

“It is a very complicated issue. It’s like trying to untie a knot,” said Marano.

The Carson Tahoe Health assessment was a presentation for discussion only item and was a briefer version of a presentation made at the hospital Wednesday.

The board of health voted to accept current strategies to address identified areas for improvement for CCHHS, which include better data analysis and collaboration on investigations of reportable/disease outbreaks.

The board also heard, for discussion purposes only, a report on the Carson River watershed.

Ed James, general manager, Carson Water Subconservancy District, said runoff this year is five times higher than it has been in 2015, but that still makes 2016 an average year, historically.

He said groundwater was faring well in the basin, except for a few areas, and long term there were concerns in Lyon County, especially with the projected growth there.

“How far can they grow? They were proposed at one time to be as big as Carson City, but they don’t have the water,” James said.

He said the capital was much better off than most of the state, especially hard hit areas such as the Humboldt and Walker rivers and places like Pahrump, where groundwater is severely over pumped.

“The good news is Carson City is prepared,” said James. “You are probably the envy of a lot of entities, even in Reno.”

In other actions, the supervisors reappointed Jonathan Boulware and Renee Plain and appointed Sandra Nagel to the Carson City Visitors Bureau and Larry Tores to the Airport Authority; approved a contract with Thomas Petroleum, LLC, Carson Valley Oil, Co., and Flyers Energy, LLC, for bulk fuel and delivery services, and with Thomas Petroleum, LLC for cardlock fueling for an amount not to exceed $981,425; and authorized an agreement to provide wheelchair van services between Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare and Carson City fire department.


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