David Hald has been practicing medicine in the Reno, Nev. area for 17 years. He specializes in both adult and pediatric urology, and practices in a large-group setting. He told Physicians Practice he believes in advocacy and working to make a difference, and is currently president of the Nevada State Medical Association.
For you, what is the best part of practicing medicine in the state of Nevada?
I think the state of Nevada has a lot to offer physicians. One of the key things is there is such a change right now occurring in healthcare that physician independence and autonomy, in a lot of neighboring states, is going by the wayside. But Nevada still offers great opportunity … for younger physicians to practice in a large group or independent type practice, rather than complete integrated healthcare systems.
About a decade ago, the leadership in the state medical association, and basically, all the physicians in the state fought hard for medical liability reform. When that was passed in 2002, it really set the stage for a very stable medical-legal climate, which is favorable to physicians.
Because we are a small state, if you want to be involved in healthcare policy, you can make a difference. We have access to our state senators, assembly men and women, and also the federal legislators. Because of the size of the state, it is a little easier to gain access, I think, than if you are in a bigger state. So, I think that's an exciting opportunity that is not always present in a larger state.
Physician collegiality is very important, too. We have that in Nevada. I'm very proud that the North and the South are really working together on healthcare reform. And we are building these relationships; because the physicians need to lead this transformation, I think, for us to get the best outcome. There was a time when the North and the South didn't work as tightly together — now my friends and colleagues are working on healthcare reform, I'm really proud of that relationship. We have an opportunity to set the stage for the practice of physicians, for decades. And what healthcare our patients are going to get.
What, if anything, would you change about the climate for physicians in Nevada?
Nevada, in the last five years, because of the recession, was hit excessively hard, relative to perhaps other states. So our number of uninsured patients is significantly greater, and, you know, a lot of the [physicians'] work is uncompensated. That creates, in a time when there are already workforce shortages, even more strain on healthcare providers. And I think with the healthcare reforms coming at the federal level [on] Jan.1 that may help our state in terms of expanding coverage.
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