Issue 29 - Jan. 26, 2016
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
Friends and Colleagues,     
GME Task Force Video Conference on January 22

In an effort to improve Nevada's physician shortage, the 2015 Nevada legislation appropriated $10 million for Graduate Medical Education (GME) expansion. Growing GME (residency training) is essential to ensure medical students graduating from the state's medical schools stay and practice in Nevada. Nationally 68 percent of students will remain in the state where they completed their medical school and residency education.  Read: "To Address Doctor Shortages, Some States Focus on Residencies".

Currently, Nevada loses medical students to out-of-state residency programs because it doesn't have enough residency positions (also called slots) and doesn't offer residency training in the most popular specialties, such as neurosurgery, dermatology, anesthesiology, radiology, ophthalmology, pathology, all the subspecialties in pediatrics, and many of the subspecialties of internal medicine. 
Governor's GME Task Force
Gov. Brian Sandoval set up a task force to determine how to best allocate the $10 million to improve GME. Should we expand existing residency programs, build new ones, or both? The task force met for the first time on January 22 to address these questions. Members of the task force in attendance (in person or via video conference) included:
  • Vance Farrow, Chair of the task force, Industry Specialist at the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development
  • Barbara Atkinson, MD, Founding Dean, UNLV School of Medicine
  • Gregory Boyer, Chief Executive Officer, Renown Health
  • Mitch Forman, DO, Former Dean, Touro University of Nevada Medical School  
  • Laura Hale for Tracey Green, Management Analyst, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Sam Kauffman, Chief Executive Officer, Desert Springs Hospital & Henderson Hospital - Universal Health Services
  • Ramu Komanduri, MD, Chief of Staff, VA Southern Nevada Health Care System
  • Mark Penn, MD, Dean, Roseman College of Medicine 
  • Thomas Schwenk, MD, Dean University of Nevada School of Medicine
  • Bill Welch, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nevada Hospital Association
The first priority was to build residency programs in the primary care specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and in psychiatry, geriatrics and medicine-pediatrics. 
How it works: The federal government, as part of Medicare, pays for resident slots in teaching hospitals across the United States. The government covers a set amount of slots. Each hospital with a teaching program has an assigned "cap" -- the total number of slots Medicare will pay. 
For instance, the University Medical Center in Las Vegas has a cap of 156 residency slots but has 180 resident positions. UMC covers the cost for residents above the cap. Sunrise Hospital has a cap of approximately 20 -- most of these are used for pediatric residents. 
New programs on the horizon
MountainView Hospital is starting its first residency programs this summer. They will have five years to build these out. Their residency cap will be set according to the number of residency slots they have created in that time frame. 
The Dignity Health System plans to start their residency programs in partnership with the UNLV School of Medicine. 
The Veterans Affairs (VA) system has its own allocation of residency slots separate from Medicare. The Southern Nevada VA has residency slots available to expand their programs in Las Vegas and will partner with us.
The Valley Hospitals in Las Vegas have recently hired Andrew Eisen, MD, to increase their residency programs. They are transitioning their programs from osteopathic-only programs to include both DO and MD graduates. By 2020, both  DO and MD programs will be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
I'm so very grateful to the Governor and the Nevada legislature for making GME a priority and for taking steps to improve Nevada's physician shortage. It's going to make a real difference.

Best wishes,

Community Advisory Board Spotlight

Henderson  Mayor Andy Hafen was re-elected as mayor of Nevada's second-largest city in 2013. He previously served on the Henderson City Council from 1987-2009. Under his leadership, Henderson has been recognized as one of America's Best Places to Live, one of the top six Safest Cities in America, and a Bicycle Friendly Community and Age-Friendly City. Mayor Hafen envisions the UNLV School of Medicine filling a critical need in helping to meet the demands of Southern Nevada's increasingly diverse and aging population. "Our community deserves access to high quality medical care," said Mayor Hafen. "A premier medical school will meet the health and wellness needs of our community while also providing an opportunity to partner with local medical institutions to help transform our region into a world-class medical destination."
Meet Dr. Ellen Cosgrove

As vice dean for academic affairs and education in the new UNLV School of Medicine, Dr. Cosgrove is putting that experience to work to design its curriculum from scratch - one infused with innovative approaches to meet the specific needs of Southern Nevada.  Read more.
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