Last week, I discussed how UNLV School of Medicine is launching its clinical practice (UNLV Medicine) in July 2017, the same month our charter class of students will begin their medical education. Today, I want to go into more detail about our clinical operation and what lies ahead.
Faculty practice plan
The first thing we had to do to initiate our clinical operation was to set up the framework as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents approved this action a year ago. The nonprofit corporation provides a mechanism for the school to manage money earned by the faculty physicians who teach clinical skills and knowledge to students and residents while seeing patients.
The money generated in the practice plan pays the majority of faculty physicians' salaries. The rest (about 20 percent) is covered by state funding to pay for the additional time physicians spend with patients while teaching students. Federal money also helps cover the faculty cost for resident training.
Our clinical practice, to be called UNLV Medicine, will begin July 2017, when the Las Vegas-based clinical faculty employed by the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNRSOM) become employees of the UNLV School of Medicine. UNRSOM's residents and fellowship programs also will move to UNLV School of Medicine.
New Clinical Site
UNLV Medicine will use some of the same clinical sites currently used by UNRSOM for the first two years. However, by the charter class' third year - their clerkship year - we hope to move most of the physicians and residents to a newly designed multi-specialty group practice to support our educational and clinical missions.
We have looked at several sites in the Las Vegas Medical District or nearby for our multi-specialty clinic. We've evaluated sites to renovate or land where we can build the clinic to our specifications. The building needs to be about 90,000 square feet so it can provide clinical space for 60 physicians and other health care providers, residents, and all 60 medical students. We are nearing a decision on the site and will take it to the NSHE Board of Regents for approval along with the clinical business plan.
The Business Model
To ensure our clinical operation is viable we have been reviewing and reworking a variety of variables that impact expenses and revenue. Our assumptions are based on the number of physicians who will work at the clinic, the number of patients they may see in a day, the types of private and government insurance, and the patient populations.
All physicians employed by UNLV Medicine will be on an incentive plan, where their salaries will be tied to productivity, patient satisfaction, teaching and scholarly research. We will use national standards to judge salaries, workload per person and expense costs.
We also will employ population health, where we take responsibility to keep a certain set of the Southern Nevada patients healthy, out of the hospital, and to take more responsibility for their health. This may mean helping diabetic patients better manage their illness or providing support for patients with chronic disease by having a dedicated community health worker and/or a case manager assist them with their treatment plan. The goal is to keep people healthy.
In addition, telemedicine will be used for patients who cannot make it to the clinic in person or who need additional follow up care.
Lastly, and most importantly, we want to ensure every patient has a positive experience in our clinic. The William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration is working with UNLV Medicine to help us create a "hospitality in health care" atmosphere. This includes exceptional customer service, attentiveness to needs, and active listening to exceed patient expectations.
It is hard to believe in less than six months we will start our clinical practice and our medical student and resident educational programs. We are excited about launching both missions of the medical school at the same time.