Saying that he's seen a shift in the demographics of the community, with "big increases in retirees," Mesa View Regional Hospital CEO Kapua Conley announced several medically-related specialty services he's trying to develop in Mesquite. "The hospital has to change its dynamics to fit the aging population," he explained.
Speaking at the monthly Mesquite Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Wednesday, Apr. 11, Conley explained that the award-winning hospital is "actively recruiting for a Mesquite-based orthopedic surgeon that will do surgeries here in Mesquite, full time."
He's also working on "bringing services here in the next six to eight months" for medical and radiation oncology. Then we can spin off the services like chemotherapy in Mesquite." Speaking as a cancer survivor Conley empathized with oncology patients who had to drive to St. George or Las Vegas for treatments. "It doesn't feel good afterwards," he remarked.
"We have a huge population that needs cardiac services," Conley continued. "In the last 60 days, we added a pulmonary function machine." He added that the hospital is working with other related groups to "have more presence here. Hopefully in the next 24 months we'll be able to have a 'cath' lab here. It bothers me when I see people that have to go to St. George to get pulmonary function testing."
"Even though it's a pulmonary-related specialty, it's primary care. That should be in our wheel house."
Conley also discussed the new Sleep Laboratory that will open in the next few weeks at Mesa View. Rob Fuller, Business Development Director at the hospital later explained the importance of the Sleep Lab in helping people live better.
Conley went on to explain that the hospital is expanding its primary care services into the Moapa Valley region and working to attract more patients from that area. "It's my responsibility to make sure we don't continue to neglect them. Hopefully, we'll bring patients this way."
"These are things we're actively
working on every day," Conley continued.
He told the business leaders that last year Mesa View contributed about $17 million to the local economy. "I want you to look at the charity care line," he said, referring to the chart the group was reviewing. "A 25-bed hospital in this community gave away $2 million in charity care to people that could not afford it. We're doing this and not asking for tax dollars. We're not being subsidized by the community. We're paying our taxes and still giving away $2 million in charity care."
"Overall since the hospital opened, it's had a $74 million dollar impact," on the local economy, Conley remarked.
Explaining that hospitals designated as 'critical access' are reimbursed by the government only for actual costs. "That doesn't allow for a hospital to make a profit and expand. You don't grow at that rate. At some point we have to break out of this critical access designation. In the meantime, the designation gives us the opportunity to stay in Mesquite long-term."
Delving into the long-standing difficulty of the hospital accepting all kinds of insurance plan reimbursements, Conley mentioned, "I actually have a meeting next week with Humana. The problem with these insurance companies is that Mesquite is located in Clark County. So I get roped into Las Vegas."
He explained that insurance companies allot a certain number of dollars for medical reimbursements county-wide and Mesa View competes with other, larger hospitals for the money. "I'm trying to work with these insurance companies individually and show them the benefit of having us on their plan. At the same time, I'm saying 'hey, you've got to open up your rates a little bit.'"
"They're not supposed to be selling HMO plans in this community because we don't accept them. But these representatives come in once a year, they sell these plans, they leave, and don't come back until next year. I spend the whole year explaining to [the patients] how the hospital doesn't accept the plan. It makes the hospital look bad."