Fall 2015
Consolidations to Improve Patient Services Across Nevada

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Admissions and Student Affairs staff.

New Spaces: From left, admissions and student affairs staff Kevin Ray, Ashley Sylvester and Melinda Thrasher in the lobby of their new offices. Photo by Edgar Antonio Núñez.

Departments move to new locations in Reno, Las Vegas

Story by Anne McMillin, APR

As the University of Nevada School of Medicine enters a new era with increased support from the Nevada Legislature and the rise of a University of Nevada, Las Vegas medical school, it has initiated several moves and consolidations of its entities and facilities at both ends of the state.

The School of Medicine remains vitally committed to its mission as a four-year research-intensive, community-based, statewide medical school. While growing into a full four-year campus based in Reno, over the next two years the University of Nevada School of Medicine will continue its outreach to Nevada's rural communities and unique training opportunities in Las Vegas.

Moving Across Charleston Boulevard

With its lease expired on the administration building located at 2040 West Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas a year ago, the School of Medicine found a new home just down the street at 1701 West Charleston and moved into its new facility this summer.

The newly renovated, six floor location offered clinical departments in Las Vegas the opportunity to consolidate their academic operations into one location. Previously, several departments were scattered on different floors at the 2040 location.

The appeal of the 1701 location was threefold, according to Jean Regan, senior associate dean for finance, who was instrumental in the move.

"We knew the building was vacant, it is located right next to our Patient Care Center and most of the school's medical practice administration functions were already located there," she explained, adding that the square-foot cost presented a significant savings in the new location, allowing the medical school to lease more space to accommodate its needs.

"Every department now has more square footage than they did before," Regan said.

The 1701 location offers several amenities including a library, a large conference room with floating walls that break down to smaller classrooms, a student lounge and, perhaps most importantly, ample parking for faculty, staff, students and patients.

The School of Medicine has leased space on all but the third floor in the 1701 location:

  • First floor: Psychiatry, pharmacy, library, Office of Academic Affairs, practice plan administration, conference/classroom
  • Second floor: Internal medicine, practice plan billing and credentialing, Office of Statewide Initiatives, Office of Medical Research
  • Fourth floor: Surgery, family medicine
  • Fifth floor: Practice plan accounting and compliance, Office of Graduate Medical Education
  • Sixth floor: Office of the Dean, Project ECHO and the future location of obstetrics and gynecology.

New Pharmacy in Las Vegas

This summer, the University of Nevada School of Medicine announced the opening of a new patient service facility: a full-service pharmacy located next to its Patient Care Center on Charleston Boulevard, just west of I-15, in Las Vegas.

Named Campus Pharmacy West, this new facility offers an easily accessible location for patients seeing health care providers in the Patient Care Center. Convenient free parking is located just outside the pharmacy.

"To better serve our patients, the School of Medicine launched this new pharmacy at 1701 West Charleston Boulevard under the leadership of Lawrence Coleman, a highly experienced professional with extensive training in medication management," said Iain Buxton, Pharm.D., chair of the school's pharmacology department.

"He is available to counsel patients with any questions they may have when picking up their prescription medications."

Patients may also schedule an appointment for a review of all their medications and receive a personalized medication plan.

The pharmacy staff prides itself on the expert pharmaceutical care and friendly attention. They are dedicated to ensuring patients have the information needed to take their prescriptions safely and effectively.

"We can eliminate an after-work chore by filling prescriptions right here after your doctor's appointment or while you are at work. Get away from your desk and pick up your prescriptions during your break or have us deliver them to you," said Coleman, the pharmacy's manager.

"Save time with our auto-refill service-perfect for routine medications. We accept Medicare, Medicaid and most major insurances."

Pediatrics Department Now in Lied Building

The School of Medicine's pediatrics department in Las Vegas, now located in the Lied Building at 1524 Pinto Lane, has a fully functioning resident clinic that is seeing patients alongside the department's subspecialists in adjacent spaces on the third floor.

A year ago, Nevin Wilson, M.D. '82, negotiated an agreement with University Medical Center to remain in the Lied space and final approval was granted this fall for the rest of his department's clinical, educational and academic offices to move into the second and third floors.

"Now that this move is complete, we are able to greatly expand our teaching and clinical services for our students, residents and patients," Wilson said, explaining that previous to this consolidation of his department into one location, faculty and learners spent much of their time commuting between multiple locations across town.

With the prospect of ‘one-stop shopping' for anyone involved in any aspect of his department, the efficiencies and flow will increase dramatically and allow for additional growth in the Patient Care Center in Henderson.

Wilson has spent much of his time this year recruiting new faculty to fill out the sub-specialty clinical services he wants to be able to provide in the community.

Psychiatry Department Moves to South Reno

Looking to better meet patient needs by providing improved accessibility, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences moved from its longtime location in downtown Reno to the US Bank building on Neil Road on the northeast side of Meadowood Mall.

Brian Kirkpatrick, M.D., department chair, said the move was necessitated by the demand for his department's services.

"We had more demand for our mental health services than we could meet, and the space downtown didn't allow us to increase our faculty or staff, to develop resident clinics or employ non-physician clinicians," he explained, adding that several of the department's community partners had approached the department to provide increased psychiatric services, which wasn't possible in the old location due to space limitations.

The department's new Behavioral Health Patient Care Center offers advanced treatment based on the latest research that deals with personal, psychological and biological factors. Department clinicians can work in collaboration with non-University affiliated treating psychologists and therapists. Diagnosis, individual therapy, child and adolescent therapy, and medication management are available to patients who refer themselves or are referred by another clinician.

The Patient Care Center offers services for children, adolescents and adults and is located on the second floor of the US Bank building at 5190 Neil Road, Suite 215, near the Meadowood Mall. The center is welcoming new patients and accepts major commercial and government health plans. Call (775) 784-6388 for an appointment.

Wellness Center Moves to Center for Molecular Medicine

Two patient care entities that both address diabetes and obesity have joined forces as the School of Medicine's Endocrinology and Wellness and Weight Management Center, and relocated to the second floor of the Center for Molecular Medicine on the north end of the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

The combined center is now open and seeing patients and offers two programs to help with weight loss.

The first, HMR Weight Management Services (HMR) program, was recently named the No. 2 Best Weight-Loss Diet in U.S. News & World Reports' Best Diets of 2015. The ranking was based on both short- and long-term weight-loss ratings of the HMR Program.

HMR's programs focus on integrating diet, physical activity and healthy lifestyle skills through weekly coaching. Research shows 47 pounds average weight loss for a mix of HMR Decision-Free® and Healthy Solutions® clinic patients with a body mass index of 40 or greater who completed the program for at least 12 weeks.

"The program is effective at helping our patients achieve weight loss, which can result in improvement in risk factors for the development of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The weight loss may also lead to a decrease in the need for medications for some individuals who have developed these conditions," says Karmella Thomas, RD, LD, CDE and HMR program director.

In addition to HMR, a structured weight loss program called the Energy BALANCE (Behavior and Lifestyle Assessment with Nutrition Centered Education) is available to patients. This medically-supervised weight loss program incorporates a multi-disciplinary team of providers to help patients meet their weight loss goals.

The average weight loss achieved using this program is 26 pounds in the first 12 weeks. With guidance, support and sound recommendations founded on the latest evidence-based research, a team of medical school providers assists patients in learning and practicing the skills necessary to create lifestyle changes for successful long term weight and health management.

Evan Klass, M.D., an endocrinologist who serves as medical director of the Wellness and Weight Management Center, is excited about the opportunity to further build synergy between caring for both diabetes and obesity patients as the two conditions are often strongly correlated.

"Endocrinologists treat those with diabetes, yet the most important part of management is often lifestyle change, and that is where the Wellness and Weight Management staff add their expertise in diet and lifestyle coaching programs," he said.

"We now offer continuity of care for patients battling both conditions from health care professionals located literally right down the hall from each other."

The school's board-certified endocrinologists see patients referred from their primary care physicians, who believe their patient would benefit from specialist consultation.