In 2016, Anjeanette Damon wrote a series for the Reno Gazette-Journal exposing some harrowing conditions in group homes for people with mental illness.

These are outsourced homes the state pays for and is supposed to oversee.

That series got the attention of Governor Brian Sandoval and legislators, who passed a law in 2017 requiring better oversight by October 1 of last year.

A new audit by the Legislative Counsel Bureau concludes that that oversight has not happened.

And people are still living in the filthy conditions Damon found nearly two years ago.

“If you talk to the director of the Health and Human Services, he says, ‘we received all the tools we needed to make sure this wouldn’t happen again and for some reason it did.’ They are still investigating to find out exactly where the breakdown happened,” Damon said.

The homes cost the state of Nevada $134 million a year. Providers get paid $1,450 per month per client.

And that’s part of the problem, according to auditor Todd C. Peterson. He told the Audit Committee of the state legislature:

“Without a strong inspection and certification process, we have serious concerns with the current model for funding CBLA [Community-Based Living Arrangements] provider homes. Providers operate a business that inherently is driven by a profit motive. In the absence of adequate inspection and certification activities, providers may limit their level of care to maximize profit at the detriment of client services.”

State Senator Ben Kieckhefer and Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton expressed concern in the audit meeting that the private funding model may need to be changed. Carlton said simply, “Privatization sucks!”

Kieckhefer didn’t agree with that the idea that privatization is the problem when he spoke KNPR’s State of Nevada, but there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed.

“The state can oversee this,” he said, “The problem is the structure that was in place failed to do so in the very recent past”

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