University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC) is the largest public hospital in the state of Nevada, serving the Las Vegas and southern Nevada area as the region’s Metropolitan Anchor Hospital (MAH). In operation since 1931, UMC is also the oldest hospital in the region, and it strives to provide patient-centered care in a fiscally responsible and learning-focused environment.
UMC is the only hospital in southern Nevada with a Level 1 trauma center and transplant center. In addition, UMC sets itself apart by maintaining an accredited children’s hospital, a Ryan White-accredited HIV/AIDS clinic, and one of the nation’s 64 verified burn centers.
A partnership with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Medical School has also helped establish UMC as a leading academic medical center. UMC’s robust ambulatory division provides primary and urgent care across 15 clinics throughout the valley and serves between 300,000 and 400,000 patients per year.
Nevada, as a whole, has a large Medicaid population and a high unemployment rate, primarily due to reduced tourism resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. UMC’s patient-payer breakdown is approximately 48% Medicaid, 18% Medicare, 19% commercially insured, 10% uninsured, and 5% governmental. Two-thirds (66%) of all visits are by Medicaid or Medicare beneficiaries, which account for 72.5% of UMC’s patient discharges. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of UMC’s net patient revenue is Medicaid and Medicare revenue. Each year, UMC typically provides an estimated $40.9 million in uncompensated care.
In the last decade, UMC has been able to reinvest its profits back into the hospital system and become a leader in the area, thanks largely to its fiscal discipline. This reinvestment has largely been directed towards facility improvements and human capital like doctors and surgeons, which has allowed UMC to compete with private hospitals. Despite these successes, there is still a need for UMC to secure critical funding for capital improvements to update facility capabilities, address needed technology updates, and focus on desperately needed infrastructure upgrades.
“We serve a full range of patients…we’re the “hometown hospital” and the Las Vegas community is invested heavily in UMC.”
Mason Van Houweling
UMC's Unique Approach to Care
UMC is a “hometown hospital” serving a broad and diverse population of native Las Vegans and international tourists. The success of UMC can be credited largely to:
UMC’s Healthy Living Institute sponsors meetings with schools to talk about health and safety, hosts new parent education sessions, and runs “daddy boot camps” for new fathers. Other programs include exercise classes for seniors to reduce falls and babysitter-certification classes that teach CPR and choking interventions. UMC also hosts health fairs and a variety of other safety education services.
Employee Engagement and Investment
UMC has achieved an outstanding employee retention rate by striving to make all employees know their contributions are valued. The average tenure for staff is 10 years, but many have worked for UMC for much longer.
Commitment to Caring for HIV/AIDS Patients
UMC has had a long-standing and proud commitment to caring for HIV/AIDS patients through the UMC Wellness Center. In fact, UMC pioneered HIV/AIDS care in Nevada and continues to lead the way. The Wellness Center offers on-site Ryan White eligibility services as well as case management, social worker, nutritional therapy, and mental health services.
Life-Saving Trauma Care
Offering the highest level of trauma care in the state of Nevada, UMC is a core component of Nevada's emergency medical system. The level of care for injured patients is continuously pursued through clinical care services, active research and education, and prevention programs. With a service area covering 10,000 square miles including Southern Nevada, parts of California, Utah, and Arizona, the trauma center serves the two million residents of Clark County and the 32 million visitors who come to the area each year.
UMC has administered nearly 2 million COVID-19 PCR tests, helping to fill much-needed gaps in the community. The hospital has also helped essential workers in the Las Vegas area feel more comfortable returning to work by handing out personal protective equipment (PPE). The hospital has partnered with a local casino to create a vaccination site and has administered an estimated 100,000 vaccines. UMC has also run post-COVID recovery clinics and provided monoclonal antibody clinics in outpatient settings, which have treated approximately 1,000 patients with a 100% survival rate.
Metropolitan Anchor Hospitals Need Greater Support
Despite the financial challenges that UMC faces, it has found ways to continue serving and supporting the Las Vegas community. But in order to continue this impactful work, including investment in critical infrastructure, staff, and care services, MAHs like UMC need additional financial support.
Increased funding would allow UMC and other MAHs to boost capacity, add beds, and make needed infrastructure and overhead improvements. Sustained, adequate support for MAHs can also help maintain and expand existing community programs while allowing systems to adapt to meet the evolving medical needs of the communities they serve.