(Chuck Muth) – Just when you thought it wasn’t possible for the government to somehow screw up health care worse than ObamaCare, along comes something in Clark County, Nevada called the “Regional Trauma Advisory Board.”
There are three levels of trauma centers that can be established in hospitals.
Level 3 centers handle comparatively minor emergency trauma visits – falls and heart attacks mostly, especially among senior citizens.
Level 2 handles intermediate emergencies.
And Level 1 handles the most critical of emergencies – gunshots, car wrecks, terrorist attacks, etc.
Yes, terrorist attacks.
As the San Bernardino shootings in December demonstrated, such an attack can happen anywhere in the U.S. But the threat is particularly acute in Las Vegas.
“(The terrorists) didn’t attack New York and Washington for nothing,” former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani warned in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal last month. “They attacked New York and Washington because those cities mean something to America.
“Las Vegas means something to America,” Giuliani continued. “It’s not just another city. It’s iconic. It’s one of six or seven iconic American cities and that’s what Islamic terrorists love to attack because it makes a bigger statement.”
Lovely. I’m sure I’ll sleep a lot better tonight. Thanks a lot, Mr. Mayor.
In any event, Clark County has one of each level trauma center, with the Level 1 center being operated at University Medical Center (UMC) – Nevada’s only government-owned and operated hospital which has been bleeding taxpayer red ink for years.
The Level 2 and Level 3 trauma centers are located in the southeast region of Clark County. Meaning if you find yourself in a life-threatening situation you better hope it’s not on the southwest or northwest sides of the valley (where an awful lot of transplanted retirees live).
Enter Centennial Hills, Southern Hills and Mountain View hospitals, all privately-owned and operated facilities, unlike UMC.
All three hospitals are located outside the southeast region and want to open their own Level 3 trauma centers to serve residents who are not adequately being served presently.
A critical need being met and filled by the private sector. Who could possibly object, right?
Well, um, the unelected members of the Regional Trauma Advisory Board (RTAB), that’s who.
According to a February 24, 2016 article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the RTAB voted to reject approval of authorization for the Level 3 trauma centers” sought by the three hospitals.
Wait. Are you kidding me?
First, why in the world should a privately owned and operated hospital need permission from the government to open a trauma center in the first place?
Secondly, why would anyone vote against the creation of life-saving trauma centers in areas of town where such life-saving trauma centers don’t presently exist? That’s insane, right?
Well for starters, because apparently we’re looking at yet another example of government picking and choosing winners and losers in the free market, that’s why.
As it turns out, the RTAB is “composed partially of representatives from local trauma centers” that are already in operation.
So in essence, these people voted to reject the applications of the newcomers in order to ban competition.
In addition, UMC’s trauma director complained that opening the three new trauma centers could result in a decline in patient admissions to Nevada’s only government owned and operated hospital – which, I’ll remind you again, has been bleeding taxpayer red ink for years.
So not only was the RTAB vote a vote to ban competition against two existing privately owned and operated trauma centers, it was also a vote to ban competition against the government’s only owned and operated hospital, which has been bleeding taxpayer red ink for years.
Outrageous. Simply outrageous.
Fortunately, the RTAB doesn’t have the final say in the matter.
Fortunately, the Southern Nevada Board of Health (SNBH) meets on March 24, 2016 and will vote on whether or not to accept or reject the RTAB’s recommendation.
Fortunately, the SNBH is mostly comprised of elected officials who *should* care more about the citizens of the county than the businesses hoping to use the government to restrict competition.
Those elected members include…
Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers – Chairman
Boulder City Mayor Rod Woodbury – Co-Chairman
Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian – Secretary
Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick
Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani
North Las Vegas City Councilman Richard Cherchio
Henderson City Councilman John Marz
Mesquite City Councilwoman Cynthia Delaney
Or you can send a letter expressing your opinion on this issue to:
Southern Nevada Health District
P.O. Box 3902
Las Vegas, NV 89127
Speak now, or forever hold your peace.
Including the next time ISIS comes to town!
(Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach and publisher of Nevada News & Views)