Fall 2014
New Patient Care Center—Henderson

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Obstetrician/gynecologist Wilfredo Torres, M.D. administers an ultrasound

Women’s health

Obstetrician/gynecologist Wilfredo Torres, M.D.'10, administers an ultrasound at the Patient Care Center-Henderson. Photo by Edgar Antonio Núñez.

A new market. A new patient base. The University of Nevada School of Medicine reaches beyond Las Vegas to offer health care for Henderson residents with a new patient care center that offers specialists in family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and surgery.

Story by Susan Hill, APR and Anne McMillin, APR

Helping to meet the demand for physicians located close to home for Henderson residents, the University of Nevada School of Medicine opened a patient care center in the city's medical corridor, at 3175 St. Rose Parkway earlier this spring. The center officially opened on May 15 and now is taking appointments for all these specialties: plastic surgery, bariatric and reflux surgery, colon and rectal surgery, breast and general oncology surgery, family medicine including geriatrics, musculoskeletal and sports medicine; obstetrics, gynecology, urogynecology, women's health, adult and pediatric allergy and immunology, pediatrics, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric infectious disease, pediatric neurology and pediatric pulmonology.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting event was held June 24 in partnership with the Henderson Chamber of Commerce and was attended by dignitaries from both institutions.

The School of Medicine operates 13 other patient care centers in the Las Vegas metro area, offering family medicine, geriatrics, sports medicine, pediatrics, women's health, surgery and other specialties, but this is the first center to provide an array of primary and specialty care in one central location.

"The best models of medicine as well as patient demand now are moving to more coordinated concepts of care, encouraging physician collaboration across specialties when patients are referred for consultations or testing," said William A. Zamboni, M.D. '84, senior associate dean for clinical affairs, professor and chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

"With our wide array of physician specialties here at the School of Medicine, we found this a great opportunity to move into excellent medical space and to expand patient services available in Henderson," he added.

The Patient Care Center-Henderson was staffed by 15 physicians at the opening, all University-affiliated and board certified, with more than two dozen physicians now seeing patients at the center. It is equipped with the latest technology, from electronic medical records to advanced testing and treatments for conditions such as asthma, allergies, endocrine imbalances, high blood pressure and cholesterol, infections, sports injuries, menopausal symptoms and obesity.

"When patients see our family medicine or pediatric physicians, they can receive preventative health care, treatment for acute or chronic problems and also schedule a referral to a specialist such as a surgeon or allergist during their visit, knowing they can return to the same office for that consultation, enhancing our delivery of excellent patient care," said Elissa Palmer, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Las Vegas, and one of the leaders in designing the Patient Care Center-Henderson.

The road to establishing this clinic started back in 2011, according to David Rencher, director of operations, when the School of Medicine sought to reach out to the larger Las Vegas area community.

"We needed to reach a new patient base and Henderson looked like the perfect place to do that," he said.

After unsuccessfully identifying sites on which to build a clinical facility, the shift turned to finding existing commercial properties that met the school's need to be near the St. Rose/Dignity Siena campus and be on a high traffic volume main thoroughfare that allowed for visible signage opportunities.

"We found the location at 3175 St. Rose Parkway and had the opportunity to take the full second floor and build it out to our specifications," Rencher said.

Those specifications centered on a new flow model with a focus on pleasing aesthetics for patients, a front area dedicated to the public and the back area devoted to employees and staff.

The 15,500-square-foot space is designed into four separate areas for each department represented in the care center, but allows for fluid patient flow between those departmental spaces. Patient reception areas have an open "hotel lobby" feel to them and large picture windows to take advantage of the desert mountain views.

"The design incorporated our new electronic medical records system with its patient portal. From their home, patients have the ability to login to our system, and fill out forms and make their co-payments," Rencher explained. "That allows us to have smaller reception rooms because we don't need to accommodate people filling out their histories and the like."

Behind the scenes in the staff areas are resident and student workrooms, a large conference room, phlebotomy stations and an office lab to expedite routine testing.

Along with the build-out of the space, new business processes including accounting, credentialing, human resources, and finance and billing, also had to be put in place prior to the care center opening last spring. Rencher credits Kathy Haynie, senior clinic manager, for spearheading those efforts, which were complicated by the fact that four departments share one space with a large volume of supplies and equipment that must be allocated to the correct department.

Rencher said the medical school's new patient care center offers one-stop medical shopping in the Las Vegas Valley, a relatively uncommon occurrence to date.

"Las Vegas medical facilities are fractured along specialty lines. The School of Medicine now offers a multispecialty practice located in one place. This is especially valued by the young families in the area who don't want to move all over town for their medical care," he said, adding that the new, large facility gives each department in it the opportunity to expand and grow its medical practice.

"Henderson residents now have a high-level of University-affiliated, board-certified physicians close by," Rencher said.

Nevin Wilson, M.D. '82, pediatrics chair in Las Vegas is very excited about growing his department's subspecialty clinics in the new office space in Henderson.

Pediatric subspecialties in neurology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, allergy and immunology, endocrinology and infectious diseases are all housed in Henderson.

"Henderson is a growing, vibrant part of the valley with many young families who don't have to travel as far as we are all co-located right here," Wilson explained.

"We now have access to patients who weren't previously aware of the School of Medicine."

Wilson has been making the rounds of general pediatrician offices in Henderson to introduce his department's new services in the hope of capturing a robust referral business. He has been especially encouraged by the many School of Medicine alumni he has encountered in speaking with general pediatricians in the area.

Looking ahead, Wilson hopes to recruit additional faculty to add to his department's existing subspecialties as the patient demand increases.

Having a full complement of subspecialties will also be an integral part of teaching medical students and pediatric residents, the latter of whom will rotate with faculty at the Henderson Patient Care Center, according to Wilson.

Nadia Gomez, M.D., faculty member in the obstetrics and gynecology department, is excited to bring her fellowship-trained skills in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery to the Henderson community.

"It will be a privilege to provide women in the Henderson community with new and advanced treatment options for gynecological disorders including endometriosis, pelvic pain, abnormal uterine bleeding and benign pelvic masses such as fibroids and ovarian cysts," Gomez said.

"The unique aspect of my fellowship training was an emphasis on chronic pelvic pain disorders and care of patients with other medical specialties such as colorectal surgery, urology, general surgery, anesthesiologists and pelvic physical therapists."

Gomez is interested in starting a pelvic floor network where different specialty groups can collaborate and develop cohesive treatment plans for complex pelvic disorders.

Gomez sees the advent of the School of Medicine in the Henderson community as a positive impact on health care. She explains that along with producing more doctors for the community, medical schools provide community services and educational activities that allow students to integrate themselves in the community.

"Education and the continued drive to learn are what advance medicine. Physicians who have a role as an educator will not only teach what they know, but also continue to learn. Medical students, residents and fellows drive us to advance our field by being innovators, leaders and mentors. Henderson will see this impact by becoming an integral part of the education of our future community physicians and specialists."

Palmer sees the opening of the School of Medicine's Patient Care Center in Henderson as a wonderful complement to the Family Medicine Clinic on Fire Mesa in Las Vegas.

"So far, many patients that previously traveled to the Family Medicine Fire Mesa office location have been able to see their physician in their own Henderson neighborhood," she said, adding that patients also are excited by the opportunity to see specialists in musculoskeletal and sports medicine, William Rosenberg, M.D., and geriatric medicine, Alvin Lin, M.D., at the Henderson location.

"With the shortage of physicians, especially in Nevada, having one more office open that offers the ability to see physicians for family medicine, sports medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, geriatric medicine, pediatric neurology, infectious disease, pulmonology and allergy and immunology in addition to all aspects of women's services, general surgery, plastic surgery, surgical oncology and bariatric surgery is an incredible asset to any community and we are very excited to offer it to Henderson," said Palmer.

School of Medicine faculty based in the new Henderson Patient Care Center have visited with many of the local Henderson physician offices in order to inform them of the many sub-specialties that the medical school has brought to their community. On these visits, faculty bring with them the promise of easing the process of referring patients to School of Medicine physicians along with putting a face to a name and opening up lines of communication for a future successful relationship for the benefit of patients and the community as a whole.

As for future plans, Rencher said as time moves forward, the School of Medicine wants to bring this concept of multispecialty patient care centers to other geographic areas of the valley.

"The idea is to have one-stop care in one location, where a primary care physician can refer a patient to a specialist within the same building," he said.

"Across the hall, not across town like Las Vegas medical care is currently configured."