County commissioners denied a request by the Grover C. Dils Hospital District to expand its pharmaceutical services beyond the authority expressly granted in Chapter 450 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, and being allowed to operate a retail pharmacy at the hospital.

A public hearing was held on the matter Monday at the county courthouse in Pioche. So many people attended the hearing it was moved to the courtroom upstairs from the normal commission chambers.

After presentations by lawyers for both sides of the question, a long public comment period was allowed by commission chair Paul Donohue to give the many on hand an opportunity to make their comment.

Most were in favor of having a full service pharmacy at the hospital, as they stated it would be of benefit to both patients and the public, especially when medications might be needed in emergency situation and Jolly’s Drug Store might be closed at the time.

Others felt a real problem would be created if a government entity, such as the hospital district, was involved in private business.

John and Tyler Heaton, owners of Jolly’s in Caliente and Alamo, expressed concern a competing local pharmacy might cause them to have to close.

Jason Bleak, Grover C. Dils Hospital CEO said they the hospital did have a retail pharmacy, able to serve the public, the hospital would be willing to not refill prescriptions for patients who had received the prescriptions while in the hospital, being sure they would get their refills at Jolly’s. “We will even put that in writing,” he said.

Others said having a full-time pharmacist available at the hospital “would allow us to keep abreast of the medications we need at any given time, or if they come in the ambulance without the necessary prescriptions.”

At issue was primarily a legal question. Later in the hearing, the question was discussed at length of did the board of commissioners have the authority from the state to deny the hospital district to expand their pharmaceutical services beyond what is already noted in Chapter 450 of the Revised Nevada Statutes in addition to the institutional pharmaceutical license it already holds.

After legal explanations were given by both sides, including county District Attorney Daniel Hooge, it was determined the commission board did have the authority to deny the request because the hospital district was seeking to go outside the expressed authority given in NRS 450.

Hooge explained in 2015, the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy decided to allow county commissioners to make decisions themselves regarding such cases.

Board members voted 3-1 to deny the request, disliking government being involved in private business. Paul Donohue was the one dissenting vote, and Nathan Katschke recused himself from the vote, citing he is the brother of local physician Dr. William Katschke.