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SNHD Board member says they didn't approve primary care service expansion

LAS VEGAS - There's a controversial new clinic at the Southern Nevada Health District. 

The district announced last month that it expanded primary care services at the Family Health Care Center to include adult physical exams and sick visits.  However, health board members say they never approved it and didn't know about it until 8 News NOW brought it to their attention on Thursday. 

"The board was not informed, we didn't even know about the press release that went out," said Chris Giunchigliani, a board member with the Southern Nevada Health District.

The primary care service welcomes all insured, uninsured and underinsured patients, as it's explained on the district's website. 

"It sounds like they opened the doors to everybody and that really was not; we did not give that go ahead as a board," Giunchigliani said.

According to Giunchigliani, the new move is very concerning.

"I'm getting tired personally, to have the Board take one position and management goes off and does its own thing," Giunchigliani said.

According to the Health District website, the primary care clinic opened on Sept. 17. The district's main location is on Decatur.

The health district defends the opening by referring to the minutes from a meeting held in April.  The notes state the board unanimously did approve the implementation of primary care services to provide low-cost, accessible care to underserved Clark County Communities.

According to Giunchigliani, that's not accurate.

"The April minutes do not reflect what our discussion was," Giunchigliani said.

She says the board's intention was to accept a grant up to 200,000 to survey and explore the expansion of services; primarily focusing on patients with HIV.

"We did not give authority to move into primary care, we will explore it, we will have those conversations, but that was not approved by the board," Giunchigliani claims.

She said the board also didn't approve a scheduled fee for the clinic.  The health district agreed.

"I'm told internally from someone that supposedly -- despite the fact that we didn't approve the fee schedule -- they went ahead and set up some kind of provider billing that we as the board didn't know about and that, that became active a week ago," said Giunchigliani.

These are concerns the board now wants management in the health district to now answer. 

8 News NOW had several other questions for the health district about the clinic, but a spokesperson says chief health officer, Doctor Joseph Iser does not want to comment until speaking with the health board chair.

The health board chair tells us she was also unaware of the new service.


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