Members Only Workshop Overview – Medical Breakthroughs & Beyond


Darren Cook – CEO, Horizon Hospitals
Dr. Mark Penn – Founding Dean of Roseman University College of Medicine
Shani Coleman – Redevelopment Manager, City of Las Vegas
Moderator – Ric Truesdell, Principal Cornerstone Company

Recently I attended the NAIOP Economic Series Impact Workshop on August 11th, 2017 with roughly 35 other attendees. The topic was “Breakthroughs in the Medical District & Beyond.” Interestingly enough, I have attended previous events throughout this year with the topic, but this one felt different. This atmosphere, this setting, this panel was much more intimate. I felt like the audience was much more engaged and able to interact with the panelists. I heard questions asked that I haven’t heard asked before. To me, there is a lot of value in these NAIOP Education events. Thank you to the sponsor, panelists and the education committee in putting together these workshops.

In order to build the framework of this Workshop, it’s important to understand the content that was shared with us.

Shani Coleman with the City of Las Vegas went first with an overview of the Las Vegas Medical District (“LVMD”). The 1997 core Medical District has been expanded by 684 acres to include Symphony Park. You can view the latest map here: (I also recommend that you visit this website and sign up for their newsletter to stay informed). The goal of the Las Vegas Medical District is to provide quality healthcare for the SW region by 2030. The overall sentiment is that healthcare is not affected by the recession and that healthcare can diversify our local economy. Additionally, the LVMD has been pulled into the Las Vegas redevelopment area, which means that there are grants available for visual improvements and tax credits for bringing business into the area. I heard Shani mention several times “Live/Work/Play” which has always intrigued me. This is a ‘foreign’ term to many of us that have lived in the Las Vegas valley for years. “Live/Work/Play” has always been such a cliché term that is used in ‘big’ cities. However, it seems to be something that Las Vegas has tried to do for many years, but has been unsuccessful at it. This term was used during the boom of “the curve” in the Southwest part of the Valley along the 215, but again, I don’t feel that the concept took shape. I’m excited to see if the City of Las Vegas can pull it off with the master plan concept they have in place. Ms. Coleman did mention that the concept does hinge on many more bike & walker friendly sidewalks along with a light rail concept. In my opinion, these items would be critical to the success of this concept. The City is also performing a GAP Analysis that shows food & beverage options, convention space and a non-gaming hotel will be needed as well. So, brokers, owners and small business should stand behind this concept and get involved! Additionally, the City is working with prospective companies to align them with the LVGEA to provide new market tax credits and changing the zoning to form based code. (For more information about ‘form based code zoning’ reach out to the City of Las Vegas). All of the changes she revealed have been well received by the surrounding neighborhoods. It will be interesting to see how the additional residential needs will fit into this overall strategy as well.

Shani Coleman did a phenomenal job outlining the City of Las Vegas’ strategic plans and vision for this world class Medical District. Additionally, it was clear that the public and private sector is really coming together, working together, to make this happen. There are several pivotal elements to the success of creating the Las Vegas Medical District which includes UNLV building their Medical School campus on Pinto & Shadow Lane, UMC, Valley Hospital, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health campus and leading resident physicians working together.  Together we can make this happen!

Next, Dr. Mark Penn with Roseman University did a great job outlining their vision and mission. He was also kind enough to shed some light on the UNLV School of Medicine since Dr. Atkinson was unavailable. UNLV is striving to become a Tier 1 education facility, and in order to do that they need an estimated additional $60M in grants. The projected economic impact of the UNLV School of Medicine by 2030 is $1.1-$1.5 Billion. UNLV also anticipates at least 1,000 new jobs will be created. Dr. Penn shared some impactful statistics about the medical industry and how it affects us, which was supported by an Applied Analysis study that he referenced in his talking points. But, the overall message was clear to me, we need MORE quality Doctors and a BIGGER pipeline of potential Doctors in our valley. The projected economic impact of the Las Vegas Medical District is $3.6 Billion. Again, this will only be made possible with the public and private sectors working together. Dr. Penn said that Roseman is two years behind UNLV in their Medical School accreditation and they anticipate their first medical school class in 2019. When this happens, Las Vegas will have two Medicine Doctor (“MD”) programs – UNLV & Roseman University and one Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (“DO”) program – Touro University. This is important because every Doctor brings 14 jobs to the local economy. As of 2015, there were roughly 4,400 active physicians in the Valley. This number is so low compared to other cities of similar size and scale. Our Valley can support MORE Doctors, and we need them!

Lastly, Darren Cook with Horizon Specialty Hospitals explained their programs and how they fit into this puzzle. Horizon Specialty Hospitals are long term acute care hospitals where the average stay is 25-30 days. These hospitals are basically the middleman between intensive care/trauma and skilled nursing and they rely heavily on reimbursements. Mr. Cook also stressed the importance of mentorship and education programs needed in Las Vegas. Horizon Hospitals is working with the UNLV Nursing School to create a pipeline of skilled nurses. Darren also shared that as of 2016, Nevada is ranked #37 in quality healthcare and #51 in mental health. This is alarming! These statistics just reaffirm that we need MORE quality Doctors and MORE quality services. There is a strong demand for skilled nursing, mental health and substance abuse clinics here in Las Vegas.

Dr. Penn and Darren Cook also shared some interesting information about “How to Keep Doctors/Students” in Las Vegas:

  1. Build a good pipeline – this starts all the way in elementary school. When teachers ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We need more elementary school kids to want to be “Doctors” or “nurses.” We need to create programs to engage kids in the medical field.
  2. In Medical School (hopefully here in LV) – teach them about the community. Have them invest in the community. Teach them about our neighborhoods and what we have to offer. This will entice them to stay when they graduate.
  3. Graduate Medical Education – we need more residency programs, these usually last about 7 years. There is a 70% chance that a Doctor will stay in a city where they go to Medical School and complete their residency. If you leave for residency, there is only a 33% chance that you will come back. We need to create more opportunities for Doctors to come AND stay here.

Again, this Economic Series Impact Workshop is just as the name suggests “impactful.” If you’re a NAIOP member, and not attending these workshops, you are truly missing out. Looking back at this morning, here are my impressions:

  1. Time will tell! Or Give it time! – As we all sit and watch with baited breath one thing is for sure, this impressive undertaking is going to take time. We need to be patient, but also be proactive!
  2. Everyone is interested & wants this to happen! – Many key players are coming together to ensure the success of LV becoming a world-class medical destination. If you can make a change, get involved!
  3. Medical Tourism is a key phrase that Las Vegas is still trying to figure out – the City of Las Vegas is looking at Texas, Penn State & UCF as leading examples. But one thing is for sure; our local medical services have to improve!
  4. There is a strong demand for skilled nursing, mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities in our Valley – reach out to potential candidates and match them with the LVGEA & City of Las Vegas so everyone can work together to bring them to Las Vegas.
  5. Partner with local hospitals – when possible, let’s partner with local hospitals to work on increasing reimbursements and creating more residency programs so we can recruit AND retain quality physicians.
  6. It’s an exciting time to live in Las Vegas! – In more ways than one, this is an exciting time to live in Las Vegas. The city is coming together to make big and impactful changes to our local economy. Buckle up!

Cassie Catania-Hsu, Managing Director / Broker
Sun Commercial Real Estate, Inc.
702-968-7324 | Cell: 702-556-7100 |