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How should UNO, UNMC move forward?

At present, the long-term relationship between the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center remains a question mark.

How NU ultimately decides this issue is important not just for the two campuses, but also for Omaha as a community and for Nebraska as a state. This is a key need regardless of whether it's ultimately decided that keeping the two campuses separate, or merging them, is the best course.

Since 2017, the campus has been led by Dr. Jeffrey Gold, serving as interim chancellor there in addition to his duties as chancellor at UNMC. NU President Hank Bounds recently nominated Gold as the "priority" — and only — candidate to serve as UNO chancellor until June 30, 2022, while continuing to lead UNMC.

But the larger question remains: What form will the long-term relationship between UNO and UNMC take? NU leaders and faculty need to use the next several years to examine the best options to maximize the performance of both campuses.

- Omaha World-Herald


Perfect storm threatens state’s elderly

Nebraska voters' decision to expand Medicaid, coupled with vows by the governor and like-minded lawmakers to avoid tax increases at all costs, mean that the dwindling number of private-pay nursing home residents see their resources drained further.

Thirty-three facilities have closed in Nebraska. Medicaid often fails to cover the cost of care for seniors. That's the result of Medicaid rates being reduced 2.65 percent last year, and another 7.17 percent this year. With about 60 percent of Nebraska nursing home residents on Medicaid, that's a big bite out of the annual budget.

Nursing homes are an important part of many small communities, providing employment and keeping residents closer to their friends and families. If they are forced to close, those valuable jobs go away and residents are forced to move away from their friends and family.

We owe it to our elderly residents to make sure they receive the care they need without being forced into poverty.

- McCook Daily Gazette


Schools get more mental health resources

One of the biggest challenges schools face is addressing behavioral and mental health problems among students.

Earlier this month, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that addressing mental health problems among students is a priority for him and the Nebraska Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Behavioral Health.

First, a toolkit has been assembled for school personnel to help them find resources and tools to use. The Behavioral Health Resources for Schools is something that school officials have requested. Second, the state has received a $9 million federal grant that will be split over five years. The grant will be used to promote mental health awareness, response and intervention through school and community-based services for students.

Helping young people deal with mental health problems at an early age is important. No one wants the problems to grow to where they are acted out in violent incidents at school or elsewhere. The earlier a problem can be detected means that treatment can also begin earlier.

School safety and the mental health or young people are important issues to address. It is good that the state and federal government are making resources available to help local school districts.

- Grand Island Independent

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