In a world of mergers and increasing “bigger is better” mentality, Northern Nevada Medical Center (NNMC) strives to fill a unique niche. It is capitalizing on its size and location by offering a bold guarantee: that every patient entering its emergency room will be seen by a nurse within 15 minutes of arrival – or the visit is free. The 15-minute guarantee has brought more people to the hospital and, more importantly, has led to more satisfied patients. “The whole emergency room experience is much less stressful and frightening if people know they will be seen and treated quickly,” said James R. Pagels, NNMC’s CEO.
With 100 beds, 500 employees, 500 associated physicians and a hillside location at the corner of East Prater Way and Vista in Sparks, the medical center has steadily grown in recognition since it opened in January, 1983. It offers a wide array of acute medical and surgical services, including outpatient diagnostic imaging and X-rays, lab services, surgery and both short- and long-term rehabilitation services. Specialized programs include: the Joint Care Center of Northern Nevada, specializing in hip and knee replacement and rehabilitation; Senior Bridges, a medical/psychiatric unit devoted to those 55 years and older; Vista Osteoporosis Center for the diagnosis and treatment of the bone-thinning disease; and the Women’s Wellness Center of Northern Nevada, specializing in gynecology, hormone replacement and other services for women.
In October 2001 NNMC opened an affiliated institution, the South Valley Medical Center, to provide a comprehensive range of medical services for the rapidly growing south Reno area. At the medical center, the Eastern Sierra Medical Group physician practice and Faster Care urgent care facility offer family care and urgent care without appointments, remaining open for extended weekday hours and on Saturdays. “Because the hospital emergency rooms serving the region located in north Reno, full-service urgent care in the South Meadows has become a necessity,” said Dr. John Cassani of Eastern Sierra Medical Group. South Valley Medical services also include: Vista Diagnostic Imaging, the area’s first complete digital imaging center, with MRI, ultrasound, CT scan and x-ray; American Medical Laboratories; and a station for REMSA, the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority.
Vista Diagnostic grants Eastern Sierra Medical Group and other local physicians instant access to a Web-based, fire-wall protected computer system that allows a doctor to view a patient’s latest diagnostic images without the delay and expense of producing and delivering films. The digital imaging system is also environmentally friendly because it utilizes neither film nor chemicals. “Our digital imaging is a tremendous advantage to the patient,” said Brad Kennedy, Vista Diagnostic Imaging supervisor. “It means, for example, when a CT scan is done, one of our Northstar Imaging radiologists can view the images electronically with the other radiologists in the group, offering these additional opinions at no additional cost.” The diagnostic center has its own entrance and waiting room, making it fast and convenient for patients to get in and out.
Faster Care is affiliated with Northern Nevada Medical Center and licensed separately with Eastern Sierra Medical Group, a local physician practice which has provided family medicine, internal medicine and urgent healthcare services for the past 12 years at McCarran and Longley in Reno, where its original Faster Care center remains in operation. Physicians in the group include family practitioners Drs. Darla Bryant, John Cassani, William Higgs and Newton Yco and internists Drs. Reynaldo Narag and Edward Simon.