Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Supported by

Women's healthcare is hard to come by in Nevada. New bills could help.

Trust Women's founder and CEO Julie Burkhart stands in the doorway of an operating room at the Trust Women South Wind Women's Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki
Trust Women's founder Julie Burkhart stands in the doorway of an operating room at the Trust Women South Wind Women's Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.

For many years, Nevada hasn’t had enough doctors for its growing population. Today, it ranks 48th in the country for primary doctors per person.

At the same time, a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation says more women than men aged 18 to 35 have negative experiences with doctors, feeling dismissed, blamed, doubted and discriminated against based on income, age, race and other factors.

Those types of issues only compound Nevada’s doctor shortage, which U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen said impacts the entire state. She’s hoping a new package of bills will ease the problem.

Rosen joined State of Nevada host Joe Schoenmann to discuss the issue, along with Dr. Joseph Adashek, a Las Vegas-based perinatologist.

On what the new bills could do

ROSEN: A little bit later on this week, we're going to be introducing a bipartisan legislative package that's going to really … help address the medical professional shortage. So this legislative package is aimed at increasing the number of medical and dental residencies and specialists so that we can just have more health care professionals practicing in every one of our communities across Nevada. And the intended goal is to bring medical providers to practice in Nevada communities by providing incentives for, like I said, medical and dental students in residency who provide in areas that we need them, underserved areas, rural areas … As soon as they're introduced, I will be glad to come back and give you full names and a little bit more details about what we're doing. But we really need to work on this. Nothing could be more important.

On what it will take to advance in the Senate

ROSEN: We're just going to have to keep pressing forward because I will tell you that women deserve the right to be respected and to make their own health care choices regarding their reproductive health. And so we have to do whatever it is we can in our states, in our communities and of course, federally, to stop Republicans from adding a nationwide abortion ban … We need to grow our pro-choice majority in the Senate. … We just need to try to enshrine any protections we can to protect Roe v. Wade across this country.

On the doctor shortage in Nevada

ADASHEK: Talking about the doctor shortage, you know, the state of Nevada has very, very few residency spots for OBGYN in the first place. And to become a high-risk pregnancy specialist, you have to do a fellowship and maternal fetal medicine, which is an additional three years. And there are no fellowships in the state of Nevada for maternal fetal medicine. So we have to get any doctor to come join us from outside the state of Nevada. And it's exceedingly difficult to get people to move to Las Vegas … It's a great place to live … and you can have every single thing you want to do for fun here. But people who don't live here think it's all just gambling and adult things and don't realize it really is a great place to raise a family. It's really difficult to get people to even interview here.

On what they’re seeing in Nevada

ADASHEK: There's such a shortage that getting into the doctor is really difficult. There's some OBGYN said to have a year waiting list just for a yearly GYN visit. And of course when they get there they feel somewhat marginalized. … I've had patients say that their doctor has been behind for two hours … I can tell you that every doctor in my office hates with a passion running behind. … I get the frustration that patients may have or to be honest, even private insurance patients, they'll have a deductible of say $5,000 nowadays, so they get to the office and they have a bunch of procedures that have to be done. And it's $3,200 or something and you know that patients don't just have that in their checkbook right now to do that. Or worse, they have to pay it every year. So they had to pay it to us in November and December, and now it's January, February, [and it's starting] all over again. These are things people don't even think about but they have a $5,000 deductible. They're really paying $10,000, and that's a big chunk of salary for a lot of people.

Guests: Dr. Joseph Adashek, M.D., perinatologist, Southern Hills Hospital and Desert Perinatal Associates; Jacky Rosen (D), U.S. senator

Stay Connected
Kristen Kidman is a former senior producer at KNPR’s State of Nevada and is proud to be from Las Vegas.
Lorraine Blanco Moss is the host of KNPR's award-winning Asian American Pacific Islander podcast, Exit Spring Mountain. She's also a former producer for State of Nevada, specializing in food and hospitality, women's issues, and sports.