Dr Naomi Purdy recalls a victorious moment when she called a recent client, who lacked the resources to seek treatment for aggressive skin cancer, to tell her news she was eager to hear: ” it’ll be OK. “
Although there were losses in the quest to treat vulnerable and uninsured populations, she said there had also been “very good wins”.
âWe have patients who are discharged from the hospital and need help but don’t have access to care,â said Purdy, medical director of Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada. âOne of the patients we saw had a malignant tumor on her hand, a very aggressive skin cancer that can spread throughout the body. She was sent home for a full assessment, but she did not have the money. She came here.
At the facility, the patient was able to get the recommended tests, lab work, and x-rays that she needed until she was in good health.
The story was told to Governor Steve Sisolak on Wednesday as part of his “Healthcare Week,” in which he visited health centers serving vulnerable populations and met with providers to find out how the state could. meet their needs.
In addition to medical volunteers, Sisolak also visited the Martin Luther King Family Health Center, a federally licensed health center that serves at-risk populations who do not have access to care.
As the two facilities fill the gaps in the medical needs of uninsured or underinsured people, representatives from both stressed that patient demand is increasing.
In an interview following the tour, Sisolak said the state would review “how we are allocating our resources, where they are best spent and if there is anything we can do to increase them.”
âIt is becoming increasingly clear and widespread that the need is so much greater than our ability to provide services,â he said. “We need to analyze where we can best allocate our resources, whether it’s reallocating resources to one sector or another to be more proactive in some of our health care so that we don’t have to of people in our emergency. chambers obstruct them and are unable to provide care to those who need it most.
Disparities in the healthcare system, Sisolak said, were one of the most common concerns he heard on a recent Nevada Recovers listening tour.
âWe have received thousands of requests for different proposals and programs,â he said. âHealth care, rent subsidies and education are probably the most important. ”
With the federal relief money that has arrived in Nevada, he added, the state has “cash on hand and more grants available that we hope we can funnel to organizations” like Volunteers in Medicine.
He said state officials are still working on proposals submitted by Nevadans on how the state might spend the US bailout relief money.
Of the $ 6.7 billion that came to Nevada, the state has $ 2.7 billion in discretionary spending, as well as pockets of money for issues such as housing, child care and l food insecurity.
There is also $ 232 million specifically for health care.
âUnfortunately, there is not as much money as we would like. We want to make sure it’s invested appropriately and wisely, âSisolak said.
Before the pandemic, Sarah Hall, eligibility coordinator at Volunteers in Medicine, said the organization received between 30 and 50 calls each week from “people wishing to be patients.”
âCurrently we get 60 to 80 calls per week with people wanting to receive service from us,â she said. âWe try to serve as much as we can. ”
In addition to thanking the healthcare staff, Sisolak also asked for suggestions on how the state might meet the needs.
Requests ranged from more funding to meet community demands – which increase as the state’s population grows – to help soliciting more volunteers to provide health care services.
While claiming to have a large pool of volunteers, some have decided not to return following the pandemic.
It was not the first time Sisolak had heard of healthcare workers leaving the industry.
Sisolak, who also met with the Philippine Nurses Association of Nevada on Tuesday, said providers also spoke about burnout from last year and quit the industry.
âWe know the pandemic has caused a tremendous burden on our health care providers,â he said. âThe stress level is astronomical.