Cuts at Vegas Hospital Prompt Worries About Deaths

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Critics and county commissioners say plans to eliminate some services at University Medical Center to offset $8 million in state Medicaid funding cuts will endanger the health of indigent patients.

Officials acknowledge that program cuts announced Tuesday offer few options for cancer treatment, kidney dialysis and prenatal care for hundreds of the county's poorest residents.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly called it a "crisis," and Commission Chairman Rory Reid called for Gov. Jim Gibbons, legislative and community leaders, and officials from nonprofit and private hospitals to meet to discuss health care in Nevada.

UMC chief Kathy Silver told commissioners that more cuts probably would be needed if Medicaid is cut further in July.

State health officials announced 5 percent cuts this year in Medicaid reimbursements for inpatient hospital services.

Nevada Medicaid covers low-income Nevadans who qualify based on
financial need, federal and state law.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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