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In Nevada, Secretary Becerra Highlighted the Importance of Strengthening the Health Care Workforce, Launching 988, Access to Cancer Screening, and Investing in Youth Mental Health

Yesterday, April 19, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra participated in events, site visits, and roundtables underscoring the importance of addressing the health care provider shortage; planning for the launch of 988; increasing cancer screening, prevention, and early detection; improving youth mental health, and housing as a social determinant of health. Throughout the trip, Secretary Becerra engaged with federal and state leaders who have supported their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary Becerra began his day at the Nevada Healthcare Provider Summit with Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, a day-long convening of health care providers, state officials, business leaders, and private sector partners from across the state to discuss challenges facing the Nevada health care community including the health care provider shortage.

During his remarks, Secretary Becerra announced the formal rollout of federal funds to support the 988 workforce and crisis call centers. Last week, states and territories received notification letters outlining funding awards - Nevada received $1,069,192 over the course of two years. Yesterday, HHS and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) updated the 988 website with resources detailing funding awards by state. Secretary Becerra reiterated that HHS and the Biden-Harris Administration will continue to put equity and access at the forefront of the fight for parity in mental health care.

In addition to preparing for the launch of 988, Nevada is also working to establish community mobile crisis teams, thanks to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Mobile Crisis Planning Grant, to help provide individuals in need with the critical care they need in a welcoming environment.

Later in the day, Secretary Becerra, accompanied by Governor Sisolak, Congressman Steven Horsford and Congresswoman Susie Lee, participated in a Cancer Moonshot event at the Martin Luther King Family Health Center. During the roundtable discussion, the Secretary announced a new Department-wide engagement strategy that calls to make this year the “Year of Screening and Prevention,” to support the President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative and make up for the estimated 9.5 million missed cancer screenings during the pandemic. The plan intends to identify barriers and solutions to increase access to early cancer detection and preventative health and will feature a public education campaign to increase diverse participation in clinical trials. It will also provide support for the caregiving workforce through listening sessions and community support programs.

Following the roundtable, the Secretary Becerra toured the “Mammovan,” a mobile mammography unit launched in 2000 that travels to underserved areas of the state, providing mammograms to people in geographically isolated areas and those who are uninsured and may not otherwise seek mammography services.

Secretary Becerra concluded the trip with a visit to HELP of Southern Nevada, where he, Governor Sisolak, and Congresswoman Lee toured the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center (SWHYC), which provides support, safe and stable housing, food, education and employment assistance, and more for at-risk youth. During the tour, Secretary Becerra met with youth at the SWHYC and several members of the homeless response Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) team.

Following the tour, Secretary Becerra heard from youth who had experienced homelessness about the repeat-trauma of living on the street and the importance of spaces like SWHYC. He emphasized that HHS will continue to work with states on creative ways to solve issues at the intersection of housing and mental health. HELP of Southern Nevada is a recipient of the PATH grant program. This site visit was a stop on the Secretary’s National Tour To Strengthen Mental Health.