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Bringing an innovative approach to healthcare

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | September 20, 2021
From the September 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: There are a lot of specialties experiencing shortages throughout healthcare. Are you seeing that problem at Renown?
SJ: I think there are two aspects of that reality in this region. One part, and this is positive, is that Renown is a great organization and therefore attractive to potential recruits. This area is also a very attractive place to live, which helps in our recruiting efforts. The second part, the challenge, is that the recruitment pool is too scarce across the region and across the nation. That applies in primary care and other areas of physician practice in specialty areas. It also applies to nurses, tech positions, therapy positions and other critical skillsets that we need.

HCB News: With being in Reno, does your patient population skew older?
SJ: I think the population in this region is diverse, but it is growing in the over 65 category. There are retirees who come to this area, and that is a growing part of our demographic, but overall it’s fairly balanced. Our mix from a revenue standpoint is plus/minus around 40% in the Medicare space, about 20% in Medicaid, and the difference is made up of commercial or uninsured.

HCB News: California and Washington are in the news for drought, heat and fires. Are you experiencing hotter temperatures, or does it seem pretty normal?
SJ: On average, I think what we’re seeing is probably trending toward warmer than it has been historically. This area is just over on the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, so we are susceptible to fires and the other risks that come with that location. We do see smoke from fires in our skies pretty routinely during the summer.

HCB News: Does your organization conduct drills and training for significant fire events or even just a significant heat event?
SJ: We certainly drill for the types of emergencies this region is susceptible to; that include fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters. We also have relationships with organizations around the community who help when circumstances aren’t necessarily drivers of hospitalizations, but where people need support. For example, we work with and support our medical group and community organizations when there are serious heat challenges.

HCB News: What is Renown best known for on the national stage?
SJ: Renown is known for being an innovative healthcare leader. An example of a program that demonstrates this leadership is the Healthy Nevada Project, a population health study we launched five or six years ago. The study mixes clinical and genetic information with community information such as air and water quality to determine how these factors impact health. It’s a unique study that was unlike anything else around at the time of its inception.

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