Nevada | 50 states of population health

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TODD SKLAMBERG. CEO of Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center (Las Vegas)

On the top challenge

"The most pressing concern facing Sunrise Hospital's patients and everyone else seeking healthcare in Nevada is access to primary care services. While there are some longer-term strategies that may address this dilemma, today's access to primary care, preventive health, disease management and care coordination is inadequate. That's because Clark County, Nevada, remains in the bottom 10 percent nationwide for the number of primary care providers per capita."

On the hospital's response

"The lack of access contributes toward driving more than 170,000 patients a year into our emergency room, and a third of these patients should be seen by a doctor before they become acutely ill. While we are encouraged by and supportive of the new University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine and our own Sunrise Health Graduate Medical Education Consortium, these efforts will take seven to 10 years to add more providers to meet growing patient need.

Exacerbating the lack of primary care access is the environment in which a physician in Nevada must operate in order to maintain a patient-centered medical practice. From 2013 through 2017, total net enrollment in Nevada's Medicaid program increased by 90 percent, according to the state of Nevada, addressing some of the access challenges. While it's a good first step, expanding Medicaid has not been sufficient to make medical practice a sustainable option for physicians.

Ideally, a more balanced approach to Medicaid reimbursement would pave the way for sustainable population health by bridging the gap in primary care through a more realistic use of the funds allocated for medical care. With good support, healthcare providers can focus on healing patients and ensure better healthcare is provided to all."

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