Future of Nevada’s medical education system strengthened with two thriving clinical practice plans

By | Press Releases

The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) and the state’s two research universities finalized an agreement that will ensure Nevada’s two medical schools each has its own thriving clinical practice plan to better serve patients across the state.

Nevada legislators made a significant investment in 2015 to improve the state’s medical education system by providing start-up funds for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine (UNLV Medicine), additional funds for the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), and $10 million toward building new graduate medical education (GME) programs.

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Nathan Adelson Hospice Enters into Agreement to Acquire Las Vegas Solari Hospice Care

By | Press Releases

Nathan Adelson Hospice, the largest non-profit hospice in Nevada, announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Las Vegas Solari Hospice Care, an end-of-life health care organization in Southern Nevada, owned by HealthCare Partners Nevada, LLC. Nathan Adelson Hospice and Las Vegas Solari Hospice Care are finalizing the details of the transaction and expect the acquisition to close by Sept. 7, 2016.

Acquisitions in the hospice industry are becoming more commonplace throughout the country. Healthcare systems recognize that hospice leaders, such as Nathan Adelson Hospice, have a unique delivery system.

“We are excited to announce the acquisition of Las Vegas Solari Hospice Care,” said Nathan Adelson Hospice President and CEO Carole Fisher. “As the leader in end-of-life care in Southern Nevada for more than 38 years, Nathan Adelson Hospice continues to forge a path forward resulting in improved access for patients and their loved ones. We respect HealthCare Partners’ deep knowledge and passion for providing high quality patient care, and share a commitment to ensuring a seamless transition for patients, families, employees and volunteers. This acquisition strengthens our position in the post-acute continuum and as the hospice of choice in Southern Nevada.”

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Delta Dental Foundation Donates $10,000 to Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada

By | Philanthropy/Giving

Delta Dental Insurance Company announced today that it has awarded Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada (VMSN) a $10,000 grant to help improve access to oral health.

The grant, awarded by the company’s Delta Dental Community Care Foundation, is one of several given in the state to help improve the oral health of underserved children and adults, particularly in rural locations where access to dental care may be limited. Launched in 2011, the foundation has given a total of $9.5 million in grants in several states, including more than $250,000 in Nevada.

UMC and UNLV Medicine – EPIC Partnership

By | Education

Over the past few months, we have been building the medical school’s clinical practice. Within the practice, we will teach third and fourth-year students and residents about patient care. A critical component of UNLV Medicine’s clinical practice is its electronic health records (EHR) system. It has become essential for physicians to keep a permanent patient record that can be shared easily with patients and their health care providers. Medical students must know how to use EHRs today so they can help to improve the continuity of care for patients as they seek care from one provider to the next and in different settings.

5th Annual Cardiometabolic Risk Summit

By | Press Releases

5th Annual Cardiometabolic Risk Summit

October 14 @ 8:00 am – October 16 @ 8:00 pm

The North American Center for Continuing Medical Education (NACCME), a subsidiary of HMP Communications Holdings, LLC, today announced the program lineup for its 5th annual Cardiometabolic Risk Summit (CRS) Fall taking place October 14-16 in Las Vegas, NV.

Launched in 2012, CRS Fall is the nation’s flagship conference on cardiometabolic education for primary care clinicians. The meeting attracts an average of 800 clinicians annually, including primary care physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered dietitians, registered nurses, and other allied professionals.

Highlights of the 2016 scientific agenda include a Clinician Wellness Pre-Conference on Thursday, October 13. In response to growing concerns about the dangers of burnout and its link to the decline in quality of patient care, the accredited pre-conference was designed to help busy clinicians restore balance in their lives and joy in their practices.

Wellness will be a focus throughout the conference. In addition to a variety of healthy meals and snacks served during the meeting, complimentary wellness breaks and mindful meditation will be offered. As faculty member Sandra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC from the University of Texas at Austin points out, “In the process of providing care for others, we must care for ourselves. As clinicians, we frequently don’t do a great job focusing on our own wellness. Here’s our chance to set the bar high.”

Additionally, new sessions focusing on cardiometabolic comorbidities have been added to the scientific program. Sessions include, but are not limited to:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Insulin Resistance
Cardiometabolic Risk in the Cancer Survivor
Cardiometabolic Risk and Impact on Bone Health
Sleep and Cardiometabolic Risk
Says Co-Chair Daniel Einhorn, MD from University of California San Diego and Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, “The cardiometabolic field is in a great state of flux – new medications, technologies, guidelines, even paradigms of care. Speakers present cutting-edge data and provide practical takeaways. The variety of dynamic session formats allow for interaction among attendees and speakers – that is truly unique to CRS.”

Clinicians can earn up to 32 CME/CNE/CPE credits by registering for the Maximum Value Package, which includes the pre-conference, the main conference, the syllabus, and CRS On-Demand (session recordings available after the conference).

For more information, visit crsfall.com.

About Cardiometabolic Risk Summit
Organized by the North American Center for Continuing Medical Education (NACCME), a subsidiary of HMP Communications Holdings, LLC, in conjunction with Consultant, the nation’s leading, peer-reviewed journal for primary care practitioners, Cardiometabolic Risk Summit (CRS) is dedicated to translating the latest clinical research on cardiometabolic risk into practical treatment and prevention strategies for the entire primary care team. The scientific program features powerful, evidence-based sessions spanning the broad spectrum of topics inherent to cardiometabolic risk syndrome, including: Obesity, Diabetes, Dyslipidemia, Hypertension, and Clinical Nutrition, and provides practitioners with the vital tools necessary to effectively prevent and treat cardiometabolic risk.

The North American Center for Continuing Medical Education, LLC (NACCME), is a leading provider of accredited continuing medical education across a spectrum of therapeutic areas. NACCME works with top medical faculty to design and deliver education that provides practical, real-world training, covers the latest techniques and treatments, emphasizes best practices and strengthens practitioner awareness of evidence-based care. NACCME is a subsidiary of HMP Communications Holdings, LLC. For more information, visit naccme.com.

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SilverSummit Healthplan

By | Innovation

Tackling Health Challenges among Individuals with Housing Needs

Despite advances in American society, the United States still struggles with the issue of homelessness. This issue is one that can be found throughout the country, from veterans returning home after serving their country to people residing in urban areas to those in small towns across rural America who are struggling to survive. On any given night, approximately 580,000 people experienced homelessness across the United States. The homeless population predominately consists of those in transition, with only 15 percent chronically homeless. Within the overall homeless population are adults, families, unaccompanied youth, and veterans.

People experiencing homelessness frequently have multiple and complex health issues that can be exacerbated by unstable living conditions and lack of access to consistent, uninterrupted healthcare. In facing these challenges, individuals in unstable housing situations are more likely to need costly crisis services, have longer hospital stays, and have higher hospital readmission rates after being discharged.

Housing Instability: A Barrier to Better Healthcare

Research shows that homeless adults – many of whom are Medicaid-eligible— are more likely than those with secure housing to have one or multiple chronic conditions including:

* Diabetes

* Substance use disorders

* Heart disease

* Severe Mental Illness (SMI)


Similarly, compared to low-income children with stable housing, children who are homeless or are in an unstable housing situation have shown higher rates of acute and chronic health issues including: increased prevalence and severity of asthma, higher rates of injuries, and increased risk of abuse, exposure to violence, and psychological trauma.

Under these circumstances, the inability to seek care and/or other barriers can result in the use of high-cost crisis services for adults and children alike. Such crisis services might be otherwise rendered unnecessary when health and social needs like housing are consistently met. Helping individuals remain in housing and enhancing the connection between housing and healthcare may improve access to care, increase continuity of care, and lead to better health outcomes.

The Role of Medicaid in Improving the Health of Individuals with Housing Needs

Medicaid cannot directly fund housing. Even so, the program provides opportunities for housing-related services, shifting care into home settings, and facilitating access to other services that affect health. Medicaid provides a number of avenues to bring healthcare services into housing environments – including the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) 1915(i) State Plan Optional Benefit, 1115 Waiver, and Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration. Despite these initiatives, several gaps remain. They include:

* Limited Coverage – A number of the existing programs are limited to disabled or elderly individuals as well as those with certain behavioral health needs – leaving a significant number of Medicaid beneficiaries uncovered.

* Lack of Funding – The proactive outreach, patient engagement, and enrollment facilitation necessary for supportive housing are not currently funded by Medicaid.

* Lack of Coordination – While Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries often receive other state and federal housing support services, few, if any, mechanisms exist to coordinate these services or connect their recipients with healthcare.

Many of the available housing services are fragmented across various programs – government and non-profit alike – making it challenging to undertake a coordinated, proactive approach.

How SilverSummit Healthplan is Responding

SilverSummit Healthplan is a managed care organization in Nevada that exists to improve the health of its beneficiaries through focused, compassionate and coordinated care. SilverSummit Healthplan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation. Centene constantly strives to improve care, using innovative approaches to meet our Medicaid members’ healthcare needs. We understand that social and environmental factors, including housing, can play a significant role in furthering access to care, strengthening adherence to treatment, and improving health outcomes.

Recognizing that being homeless is an additional burden for individuals with behavioral health and substance use disorder issues, Centene has turned to Cenpatico, our managed behavioral health organization, for solutions. For example, in Illinois, Cenpatico has partnered with

Thresholds, a provider organization that takes a multidisciplinary approach to administering care. Cenpatico and Thresholds leverage a comprehensive team consisting of a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist, nurses, and community support specialists, to engage and manage the healthcare of a small subset of high-risk, Medicaid members facing behavioral health and other challenges. The care team is accountable for coordinating care for this vulnerable population, which can require connecting members with stable housing.

By working together, key stakeholders such as health plans, providers, along with state and federal governments, can not only improve the level of housing stability for vulnerable groups, but also potentially lower unnecessary hospitalizations, increase care continuity, and ultimately improve overall health outcomes.

Sources: This document cites material from The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Kaiser Family Foundation, Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy, Public Health Reports, Medical Care, Journal of Urban Health, Pediatrics, Pediatric Review, and Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

Cenpatico Behavioral Health LLC, a part of the Envolve PeopleCare family of companies.

UNLV School of Medicine granted accreditation from ACGME as an institutional sponsor of graduate medical education

By | Education

Educational institutions must go through a rigorous, time-intensive accreditation process to assure the public that their programs meet the highest quality standards. The UNLV School of Medicine must meet three different accreditations:

1) The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) is the regional body authorized by the Department of Education to accredit universities, such as UNLV. We first received permission from NWCCU to grant a M.D. degree.

2) The Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) is the recognized authority for medical education programs leading to a M.D. degree. This is the most important accreditation needed for a medical school. There are multiple steps to this process. Currently, we have “Candidate School” status. In October, the LCME will meet and notify us if the school has received preliminary accreditation to accept our first class of students.

3) The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) allows medical schools to sponsor residency programs.

ACGME Milestone Achieved
Last week, we were granted accreditation from ACGME as an institutional sponsor of graduate medical education (GME). This means that as of July 1, 2017, UNLV School of Medicine will be able to accept sponsorship of the current residency and fellowship programs at University Medical Center (UMC), Sunrise Hospital, Southern Nevada Veterans Administration Hospital, and the Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services. These programs are currently sponsored by University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNRSOM) and will transfer to UNLV School of Medicine.

Becoming a Physician
When a student graduates from medical school, they have a M.D. degree but may only practice medicine under the supervision of a faculty or community physician in a residency program. Residency programs run three to six years to completion (depending upon the specialty). Many physicians complete a two-to-three-year fellowship after their residency with even more specialized training. These programs are educational but residents and fellows receive a salary during this portion of their training.

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Within the ACGME, each individual residency specialty program contains its own Residency Review Committee (RRC) that sets the standards for that particular specialty and determines which programs are accredited. We now need to secure permission from the RRC to move each residency program to our sponsorship next July.

Each institution sponsoring accredited GME programs has one person, called the Designated Institutional Official (DIO), who is responsible for maintaining the residency programs and keeping accurate and current records. The UNLV School of Medicine DIO is Miriam Bar-on, MD, who is the Co-DIO for UNRSOM. Dean Thomas Schwenk, from UNRSOM, and I agreed that having a joint DIO would allow a smooth transition of the residency programs. Dr. Bar-on submitted our application and will remain responsible for our residency and fellowship programs in the future.  She carries a national reputation for her innovation in program leadership and was awarded the “Parker J. Palmer Courage to Lead” award from the ACGME last year.

Currently UNRSOM has 249 residents in 11 different residency programs in Las Vegas.  These include Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Rural Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopaedics, Otolaryngology, Pediatrics, Plastic Surgery, Psychiatry, and Surgery. There also are 32 fellows in six programs including Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Pulmonary/Critical Care, Child Psychiatry, Sports Medicine, and Surgical Critical Care. This seems like a lot of residents, but considering each program is at least three years and several are four, five, or six years, there are only 86 first-year positions.

Bridging the Residency Gap
Though Nevada has many residency programs, some of the most popular residency and fellowship programs are not taught here, such as Urology, Neurosurgery, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Anesthesiology, Pathology, and many of the fellowships in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Graduating medical students must leave Nevada to receive the training in these needed specialties, and many never return. This means we are exporting many of Nevada’s own educated medical students to other states because of the lack of training opportunities here. UNLV School of Medicine plans to create residency programs in these specialties so we will keep more doctors in Nevada.

Residency Review Committees
In the 1990’s, I was a trustee of the American Board of Pathology for 12 years. Boards and RRCs work closely together, and during that time I was a member of the RRC for Pathology. This is the group that makes recommendations for all programs in my specialty, pathology and laboratory medicine. All members of the boards and the RRCs are volunteers who spend hours deciding what the future of their specialty will be, how to appropriately train and then examine the finishing residents to ensure patients have the best possible physicians and medical care.

We spent a lot of time evaluating separate specialties within pathology to determine whether they should be individually certified. While I was on the committee we decided to accredit molecular genetic pathology as a new specialty and then designed a new board examination to certify those who take this specialty training.

I’m extremely grateful that my career has allowed me to shape the future of medical education, residencies, and fellowships, and I’m so excited about the programs we are building at UNLV School of Medicine.

Best wishes,


Las Vegas HEALS to Host 5th Annual Inspired Excellence in Healthcare Awards

By | News

Las Vegas HEALS (Health, Education, Advocacy and Leadership of Southern Nevada) will honor six local healthcare leaders as part of the fifth annual “Inspired Excellence in Healthcare Awards” for their outstanding contributions to the community as Las Vegas continues to position itself as a world-class destination for healthcare services.

Inspired by the pioneer exploits of Dr. Royce W. Martin, Las Vegas’ first chief surgeon circa 1905, the award ceremony will recognize these healthcare leaders as those who ignite and inspire continued possibilities for healthcare excellence:

Chowdhury H. Ahsan, MRCP, M.D., Ph.D., FSCAI – University Medical Center
Mary Ann K. Allison, M.D., F.A.C.P – Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
The Honorable Shelley Berkley – Touro University Nevada
Anashu Shah, M.D. – Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging
Troy S. Watson, M.D.  – Desert Orthopaedic Center
Carolyn Yucha, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, CNE – University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This year’s class continues to exemplify innovative approaches to providing high-quality care that is provided in Southern Nevada,” said Ann Lynch, president of Las Vegas HEALS.  “Each year’s class demonstrates a diverse selection of healthcare leaders who elevate the care, education, and economic vitality that is provided in our community.”

Past recipients have included doctors Joseph Adashek, Howard Baron, Joel Bower, Jim Christensen, Michael Ciccolo, Jeffrey Cummings, Rutu Ezhuthachan, Mitchell Forman, Oscar B. Goodman, Jr., Senator Joseph Hardy, Flip Homansky, Florence Jameson, Yevgeniy Khavkin, J.D. McCourt, Russell Nevins, Benjamin Rodriguez, David Steinberg, Steven Thomas, Nicholas Vogelzang, and Dylan Wint.

Las Vegas HEALS’ Chief Executive Officer Doug Geinzer said, “Las Vegas is home to numerous top physicians who provide world-class care and healthcare leaders that have improved our delivery of care through elevation and enhancement of the services offered.  This event highlights those who continue to raise the level and inspire the delivery of high quality healthcare.”

The 5th annual gala will take place on Thursday, October 27th, 2016, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas.  Individuals interested in attending or sponsoring the event should contact Las Vegas HEALS at 702-952-2477 or go to www.lasvegasheals.org.

About Las Vegas HEALS

Founded in 2002, Las Vegas HEALS (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Leadership in Southern Nevada) is a nonprofit, membership-based association whose mission is to foster strategic alliances in the healthcare and wellness communities, collaborating on workforce issues, and being a proactive force for legislative initiatives to improve access and enhance the delivery of high quality healthcare.  The organization now represents members who collectively employ over 28,000 health care professionals.  Recent initiatives have included the release of the Las Vegas Regional Strategic Plan for Medical & Wellness Tourism, the expansion of graduate medical education, and the issue of reimbursement rates.