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Nevada hospitals receive $11.3M to expand rural health capabilities

A charitable trust donated $11.3 million to 10 Nevada hospitals to expand diagnostic and radiologic equipment in rural areas of the state, officials announced.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust, a national philanthropic organization largely focused on health initiatives and grants, awarded the grants to Nevada hospitals as part of its rural health care program.

Walter Panzirer, a trustee, said the trust sought out Nevada to add to the program because many rural health care systems are sandwiched between large expanses of federal land, meaning patient transports by land can take four hours.

“I truly believe that your ZIP code should not determine whether you live or die,” Panzirer said at a Tuesday news conference at Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, which will receive $462,000 to supply a medical simulation center. “Unfortunately, ZIP codes across America, if you’re coming from a rural ZIP code, a lot of times you have not the same same levels of care as our urban counterparts.”

Grants include $736,000 for 3-D mammography and mobile C-arm fluoroscopic x-ray equipment at Boulder City Hospital; $3.6 million to build and equip a hybridic cardiac and interventional radiology lab at Carson Valley Medical Center in Gardnerville; $1.8 million for a CT scanner and fixed X-ray device at Incline Village Community Hospital; among others.

Gov. Steve Sisolak said the donations were welcome for rural hospitals in the state, many of which do not have the fundraising profile to gain large grants or tax base to support operations that could help improve the technology and not require patients to be referred to care farther away.

“The grants that are going to be offered are going to help level the playing field for Nevada hospitals by giving our rural patients access within their own communities, the same state-of-the-art equipment that is found in our urban centers, and that would not be possible without the generosity of this trust,” Sisolak said at the announcement.

Susan Davila, CEO of Desert View Hospital in Pahrump, said that on top of not requiring elderly patients to drive far distances for care, the grant for a new X-ray device with fluoroscopy is better for the long-term health of a patient because of the quality of new machines.

“Patients will receive lower radiation doses and the health care team will have better images to review which contributes to a better patient outcome,” Davila said.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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