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Las Vegas HEALS' New CEO Confronts Local Healthcare Industry Challenges

​In August, Diego Trujillo became CEO of Las Vegas HEALS, which stands for Healthcare, Education, Advocacy, and Leadership.

It's a trade group for the local healthcare businesses.

“Our focus, primarily, is bringing everyone to the table to be able to discuss issues that exist community-wide and to work together towards the solution or at least the advancement of those solutions for the issues that many industries face together and collectively,” Trujillo told KNPR's State of Nevada.

Trujillo explained that his group works on the healthcare front to better facilitate the flow of patients throughout the healthcare system.

On the education front, HEALS has just launched an education effort to centralize information about educational opportunities in healthcare in Las Vegas. 

In advocacy, the group works with lobbyists to advance healthcare concerns to state and local lawmakers, and in leadership, HEALS offers leadership development opportunities for the whole healthcare community.

All of those activities are funded by the members of HEALS.

Trujillo took over for Doug Geinzer, who founded the organization in 2002 and remains in an advisory capacity. 

Before taking over at HEALS, Trujillo worked in hospice care first as a chaplain and then in marketing. It was his work in marketing that led him to create Vegas Healthcare, which started as a Facebook community but morphed into a way to connect different parts of the healthcare community together to solve patient problems.

Support comes from

Obviously, one of the biggest problems facing patients, doctors, nurses and the entire healthcare industry is the coronavirus pandemic.

When the pandemic first started, elective surgeries were put on hold, which hurt doctors and nurses that specialize in those surgeries and the home health and rehab facilities that support those services, Trujillo said.

Now, people in the healthcare industry are doing what they can to help with this current spike in cases.

“A lot of the companies stepped into kind of support the hospitals and the frontline workers. Some facilities have started COVID recovery units," Trujillo said, "So, everyone has had to pivot to be able to put together a solution that will work with the hospitals and what the hospitals are trying to do.”

One of Trujillo's biggest concerns is the impact the pandemic is having on the valley's already problematic physician shortage.

“One big concern for me was when I came in and started talking to some different physician groups is primary care physicians going out of business,” he said.

Trujillo is concerned the pandemic will make the physician shortage even worse.

“My goal with HEALS was to move healthcare forward and to help shape that new landscape and to come together whether it be through public service announcements, or just education or working together to inform the community that the physicians they still need patients to take care of,” he said.

Trujillo said people are worried about going to see their doctors even with all kinds of safety and mitigation measures in place.

 

He plans to talk with physician groups around the valley to offer any support the group can give to them. Trujillo plans to focus on breaking down barriers and, “being able to close in the silos and get people the resources with the referral sources talking.

Guests

Diego Trujillo, CEO, Las Vegas HEALS

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