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Laughlin to Close Health Facilty “Quick Care”

By   /   May 4, 2014  /   Comments Off

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Decision to close Quick Care is “immoral,” says Vincent

MohaveDailyNews.com-LAUGHLIN — “You’re taking away the only option – the only option – for many, and that’s immoral,” James Vincent, chairperson of the Laughlin Town Advisory Board, told Danita Cohen of University Medical Center, during a special meeting held Tuesday. His comments were made following more than two hours of testimony from Laughlin residents about the negative impact the closure of the local Quick Care facility will have on their ability to access health care.

Vincent called the emergency meeting following the April 18 announcement by the UMC Governing Board that it will close the Laughlin Quick Care, as well as three facilities in the Las Vegas area, because they are not “financially viable.” The action will result in the layoff of 100 employees, including the 11 employed in Laughlin.

Laughlin has another primary care physician: Dr. Victor Chou of the Live Oak Family Medicine Clinic in Laughlin Professional Plaza. It’s unlikely, however, that his practice will be able to absorb all of the Quick Care patients.

Until four months ago, the Board of County Commissioners, sitting as the UMC Board of Hospital Trustees, supervised the facility’s operations. Control is in the process of being transferred to the UMC Governing Board, whose eight members were a

nted by the commissioners. The new panel met on April 10 to discuss the 2015 budget, “including the potential for a reduction.”

The facility, which provides a local choice for the treatment of non-emergency issues and primary care access, has been operating in Laughlin since 1999. At that time, the BCC approved the transfer of $1 million from Laughlin’s operating fund to secure the medical outlet.

In its press release regarding the closure, UMC Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Barnard stated, “UMC has seven other locations around the valley to provide quick and primary care.” 

Laughlin Town Manager Jacquelyn Brady said information about the Laughlin Quick Care has already been removed from the UMC website. Additionally, a flyer being distributed by UMC to patients at the local clinic refers them to the Fox Creek Urgent Care in Bullhead City: “A facility that has been closed for two years,” she said. The second option listed on the flyer does not accept Nevada insurance.

Brady went on to question the economic efficiency of the agency. She said her visits to the Laughlin UMC facility have never resulted in a bill, “and that’s not because of my position with the county.”

UMC may be the last resort for the indigent and under-insured in Las Vegas, Vincent contended Tuesday, but the local facility is visited by well-insured patients, including local government employees, teachers and police officers, as well as the employees of Silver Rider and the local casinos.

“It’s not a wealthy market, but we’re not losing money,” he said. “A decision that is one-size-fits-all doesn’t always work well in Laughlin.”

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