Hospitals grow with technology, population
Health care is an ever-changing industry with research leading to new tools to diagnose and treat patients; legislation changing requirements; and, particularly in northern Nevada, an increasing population in need of care.
Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks, which is part of national Universal Health Services, is introducing new programs and equipment to provide better medical care and at the same time working to make health care affordable.
NNMC was recently recognized as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission for the hospital’s treatment of heart attacks, pneumonia and strokes, as well as providing surgical care and immunizations.
“We have a focus on quality,” said Alan Olive, CEO of NNMC.
“We offer quite a few things that are unique to the area, including our Behavioral Health,” and extra certifications in joint care, treatment of lower back pain, stroke and spinal surgery.
In 2016, the hospital will roll out a telecardiology program. Specialists at NNMC will monitor heart rhythms of patients throughout the West, Olive said. A patient in need of heart monitoring can be monitored remotely by cardiac technicians at NNMC whether the patient is in urgent care, an ER or a cardiologist’s office — close by or long distance.
“We’re pretty excited about some of these tele-health services that can reduce the cost of care,” Olive said.
Not new to the area, but new to NNMC is da Vinci Robotic surgery, which uses smaller incisions, which reduces pain and recuperation time, which then saves costs on the treatment.
Renown Health and Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center are also adding new equipment and services while also expanding non-acute care sites to meet the medical needs of an increasing population.
“There’s tremendous growth going on in our region,” Renown Health CEO Dr. Anthony Slonim told the NNBW in an earlier interview. “That signals increase volume (of medical services) needed for the new companies coming and their families that will need health care.”
Both Renown and Saint Mary’s are focusing on expanding non-acute care services in convenient locations for patients.
The inability to receive health care close to home limits the health status of the community, Slonim said. Access to health care, including wellness care to prevent illness, is good for a community.
“Health care is moving away from hospital and more out-patient care. We know we need to give people health care where they live,” said Saint Mary’s CEO Helen Lidholm, in an interview last month.
“Reno does not need more hospital beds, it’s over bedded, which is very rare,” she said. “What the community needs and Saint Mary’s fosters is outpatient care centers.”
Saint Mary’s Medical Group has invested $50 million in the past 18 months on new facilities and equipment, including the expanded medical clinic in northwest Reno, which opened Nov. 1.
Another Saint Mary’s medical center December 21 in North Valleys on Vista Knoll Parkway, near Walmart. It includes primary care, urgent care, pediatrics and the radiology department will be opening soon. Saint Mary’s also added a new sleep center in downtown.
In September, Renown announced a nearly $64 million investment that includes state-of-the-art technology, enlarging its Institute for Cancer building, creating an intermediate level of care between emergency medicine and hospital admission, and exploring the construction of a completely new medical center.
The biggest addition to the Renown family in the coming year will be a new $8 million comprehensive patient care facility expected to include imaging, therapy, primary care, urgent care and lab services.
Though the location of the facility has not yet been announced, Renown expects to start architectural planning in mid 2016.
Longtime journalist Steve Ranson, editor emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News — a sister publication of the NNBW — has published the 280-page book “Legacies of the Silver State: Nevada Goes to War.”