HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of healthcare market intelligence, reports that Las Vegas physicians face an uphill climb in the next few years with a growing population, a high rate of uninsured and physician shortages. According to the latest Las Vegas Market Overview, physicians continue to experience the strain of an overstressed healthcare system, with the added pressures of high malpractice premiums and decreasing reimbursement rates from insurers.
"With so many physicians nearing retirement age and not enough statewide residency programs to keep them in the state, the supply of physicians is shrinking," states Carolyn McMeekin, associate director of Market Overview analysis for HealthLeaders-InterStudy.
Nevada's malpractice premiums rank among the highest nationally, especially in specialties such as OB/GYN, anesthesiology and neurology. And although Nevada lawmakers passed a measure in 2002 capping most medical malpractice jury awards at $350,000 for pain and suffering damages -- with exceptions for gross negligence and special circumstances -- some argue that caps do not automatically reduce insurance premiums in the long run.
In addition, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 2006 informed physicians that it would lower by as much as one-half what it reimburses them for some 50 services in southern Nevada; in some cases the reimbursements fell below what Medicare pays. With the state's largest provider network, the company said it must cut physician reimbursement rates in order to compete in the Las Vegas market and to remain attractive to local businesses.
As a result, a growing number of physicians must tweak their business models in order to survive, with strategies including utilizing physician assistants for patient care or requiring patients to pay cash.
Other news in the Las Vegas healthcare market: - Arcadia Resources, a national home care provider, became the first retail walk-in clinic in the Las Vegas area, entering into an agreement with Walgreens to open 15 Care Clinics through March 2007. - PacificCare of Nevada is expected to gain significant market share in 2007 and increase competition in the market, while utilizing the resources of its new parent company UnitedHealth Group Inc. About Market Overviews
Market Overviews provide a detailed analysis of local healthcare markets, allowing healthcare businesses to plan their local strategies.
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