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Members in the News – November 2020

Sunrise Hospital Partners with GetCovered to Help Connect Uninsured Nevadans to Health Coverage
Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center (including Sunrise Children’s Hospital), an affiliate of HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading healthcare providers, announced today a collaborative effort aimed at helping Americans obtain the insurance coverage they need. The partnership with GetCovered, an initiative of HealthMarkets, is a private-sector led effort to help enroll individuals and families in the public or private health insurance of their choice in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Families in our communities and across the country are facing significant health and economic stress, including the loss of jobs and health insurance coverage, due to this unprecedented pandemic,” said Todd P. Sklamberg, chief executive officer of Sunrise Hospital and Sunrise Children’s Hospital. “We have an opportunity to be part of the solution by improving access to health insurance and helping ensure our friends and neighbors continue to get the quality healthcare they deserve.”

Unemployment concerns for Nevadans
Due to economic pressure resulting from the pandemic, unemployment rates have increased across the country, leaving many without health insurance. As of July 2020, the national unemployment rate was 10.2 percent, up from 3.5 percent in February 2020. For August 2020, Nevada’s unemployment rate was 13.2 percent, down slightly from 14.2 percent in July and compared to 3.8 percent at the same time in 2019, which is much higher than the long-term average of 6.8 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even higher is Las Vegas — the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reports the unemployment rate for the city sat at 15.5 percent in August 2020.

To address the loss of insurance resulting from increased unemployment in Nevada, Sunrise Hospital and HCA Healthcare established a Patient Benefit Advisor (PBA) hotline that assists their patients in finding health coverage options. The free hotline has advisors on hand to connect people with the resources they need and guide them through the process to find an affordable care solution.

Helping previously and newly uninsured Nevadans and beyond
Similarly, in May 2020, HealthMarkets launched GetCovered, to provide help to the previously and newly uninsured across the country and right here in Nevada, allowing individuals to choose the coverage option that is right for them. The GetCovered platform helps simplify health coverage by providing information on coverage options, associated costs, considerations and availability. To further expand these initiatives to provide greater access to insurance, Sunrise Hospital and HCA Healthcare will provide staffing and operate a supplementary call center to assist individuals in exploring Medicaid eligibility in all 50 states who are not eligible for plans through the GetCovered platform. HCA Healthcare’s scale and infrastructure will also help connect community agencies such as the United Way, not-for-profit health centers and other need-based organizations with GetCovered to assist their clients with coverage options.

“During this time of continued uncertainty, Immunize Nevada has seen increased requests to connect families to primary care services, specifically access to no-cost immunizations,” said Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada. “We know that losing healthcare coverage can be incredibly difficult; that is why we are glad to know the GetCovered Initiative is working swiftly to get critical information to our community and to those who need it most. This timely service is designed to offer information about public and private options to restore coverage and improve access to much needed preventive care. Keeping our community healthy and protected is a goal we all share.”

Carson Tahoe Implements Advanced Electronic Medical Record Program to Improve Patient Care
The Carson Tahoe Health system, including the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, Carson Tahoe Medical Group, and all other outlying locations, launched Epic – a highly regarded and well-utilized medical records system.

“Moving to Epic for managing our charts and health records is one big step in advancing care for Northern Nevada, particularly for our family of rural communities,” says Mitch Watson, Carson Tahoe Chief Financial Officer, Vice President, and leading executive over the Epic Project. “Not only will this integrative system potentially ease the workload of staff, eliminating our use of numerous programs, but it will also improve patient safety, expand access with a single patient portal called MyChart, and give patients greater control over their health journeys.”

Epic leads its industry in providing intuitive software, designed to connect the dots between patients, their existing health records hosted on Epic, and allow providers to collaborate more effectively to improve patient care.

MyChart Patient Portal
MyChart acts as a gateway to a patient’s complete health record. The secure online platform gives them convenient, 24-hour access to personal health information such as medications & lab results. It can also act as a quick resource for the patient and their provider with a message option & appointment scheduling for existing providers.

To sign up for MyChart, patients will receive an activation code at the time of scheduling or when they check-in at any CTH location. The code will come as part of the discharge paperwork from primary care, urgent care, or hospital visits. What’s great is that patients can use just one MyChart login to manage their health records for all providers that use Epic & MyChart, even ones outside of the Carson Tahoe Health network. Although MyChart will replace our three existing patient portals (Follow My Health, CTMG, and CTC), old data will be available through Medical Records.

Rising To The Challenge
“Bringing on a new medical records and charting system is like bringing in a new coworker. We all need a little time and patience to learn how to work with Epic. That may come with a few snags along the line, but we are well-prepared to address any challenges with additional support staff and resources,” Watson said.

To carry out this momentous feat, Carson Tahoe worked for over a year with affiliate, University of Utah Health and Epic teams to deploy the system as seamlessly as possible. Carson Tahoe employees were required to train and test prior to go-live for access to the program. Employing Epic, the largest electronic medical records system in the nation, also required streaming workflows, advancing order sets, and enhancing processes and communications. So changing the records system wasn’t just changing a screen on a computer … really, it was a way for Carson Tahoe to begin transforming care delivery.

“The implementation of Epic & MyChart has been a long time coming, and many people from near and far have put in a great deal of work to plan, prepare, and execute,” Watson said. “We look forward to putting in the effort to master this software and, in turn, vastly improve your Carson Tahoe experience.”

Spring Mountain Treatment Center reopens Children’s and Adolescent Unit damaged by fire
Spring Mountain Treatment Center has reopened its 26-bed in-patient unit for children and adolescents, just three months after it was damaged by fire and water damage that occurred in July 2020. All patients and staff were safe. Patients were relocated to another unit within our Facility. We thank our Fire Department for their swift response. The East Unit underwent a major renovation. The Unit has been repainted and the walls have been covered in Acrovyn wall protection to protect the interior and provide a pleasing aesthetic. In the Nutrition room where the July 2020 fire occurred, we have completed the renovation and replaced all appliances. The East Unit was medically cleaned before reopening for patients.

The unit began accepting patients on Wednesday, October 14. “We are very excited to re-open the youth unit. This unit was specifically designed to provide the optimum treatment and care for this vulnerable population in our community. Parents, agencies, and families can be assured and confident that when a child is in our care, they will be provided with safe and appropriate treatment and services,” said Troy E. Mire, CEO/Managing Director of Spring Mountain Treatment Center.

Spring Mountain Treatment Center Acute Child Inpatient and Adolescent Inpatient programs, for patients ages 5 to 17, provide stabilization for behavioral/psychiatric problems and substance use disorders.

VASNHS Vocational Rehabilitation Program Helps Veterans Find Employment
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System recognizes Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Rehabilitation Week, honoring VA CWT vocational rehabilitation counselors, managers and peer support specialists who provide services to more than 100 local Veterans each year.

VASNHS’ CWT services are integrated with clinical care to assist Veterans with mental health or physical health challenges, including serious mental illness, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, polytrauma and traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, homelessness, and other psychological issues that may interfere with them securing gainful employment.

“The Compensated Work Therapy program has been a great way for Veterans to find work, whether it is here at the VA, another government service, or a community employer,” said James Edmonds, VASNHS Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. “We’ve had a lot of success with helping Veterans find a job and get their feet back on the ground.”

VASNHS vocational rehabilitation provides service to over 100 Veterans each year. Many of those Veterans receive employment through government or private hiring programs upon completion of the program. “Supporting Veterans’ efforts to gain meaningful work benefits Veterans, our communities,” said Edmonds.

For one Veteran, vocational rehabilitation services helped him to turn his life around.

Bill Evans moved to Las Vegas from Greenville, SC in February after a divorce from his wife of 30 years. “I needed a new start,” Evans said. “But then the pandemic hit, and I was out on the streets.”

The 65-year old Navy Veteran found a homeless shelter with the Salvation Army, and within weeks, a VASNHS mental health counselor referred him to the community integration program and the vocational rehabilitation service. He soon got an apartment and began work as a housekeeper at the North Las Vegas Medical Center. “I’ve never gone without a job, and I’m happy to be working again,” said Evans.

Evans is one of several current participants of the VANSHS vocational rehabilitation program who has been asked to apply for permanent employment. “Bill (Evans) has been a hard worker since day one. He’s done a great job in housekeeping.”

VASNHS’ CWT services are integral to helping Veterans overcome employment barriers and return to meaningful employment. For more information on eligibility for the program, please go to