Las Vegas Sun

July 12, 2024

Letter to the editor:

World-class medical clinic

Prominent clinic teams with Ruvo family to give Las Vegas state-of-the-art brain center

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (part 2)

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  • Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (part 2)
  • DUI Crash Course
  • Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (part 3)
  • Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (part 1)
  • Ruvo Center - First Patient

Larry Ruvo profile


Larry Ruvo relaxes during a break while interviewing Feb. 9 with ABC's 20/20 for a piece to air on the news magazine show March 6. Launch slideshow »

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute Exterior

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute Interior

As the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute exterior nears completion, the interior comes to life with intention. Details including colors, the use of natural light and the comfort of moving through the spaces were planned specifically for patients suffering from Alzheimers and other brain illnesses, seen in the Frank Gehry building in Las Vegas on Monday, Feb. 9, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute Staff

President and CEO of the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, Dr. Zaven Khachaturian, poses at the institute on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Cleveland Clinic

The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, seen on Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Cleveland Clinic Brain Lab

The brain is studied in the Cleveland Clinic department of neurosciences brain bank tissue laboratory at the  Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Cleveland Clinic Staff

Dr. Michael Modic, chairman of the Cleveland Clinic neurological institute, poses in his office at the Cleveland Clinic on Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute

Lou Ruvo, who built a successful career operating a Las Vegas restaurant, began displaying problems in 1992 with memory and with driving in rush-hour traffic. It took about 18 months of frustration and misdiagnoses for his family to learn that he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which claimed his life in 1994.

His son, prominent Las Vegas liquor distributor Larry Ruvo, was determined not to let that happen to other families with loved ones who suffer from the same degenerative brain disease. So he set out to do something about it and pursued a dream many thought would be impossible to achieve.

Today it will be announced that one of the nation’s leading medical institutions, the Cleveland Clinic, is teaming up with Ruvo to staff and operate a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Las Vegas that will represent one of Southern Nevada’s crowning medical achievements when it opens July 1. The clinic will not only be on the cutting edge of brain research, it will be housed in the most distinctive building in Southern Nevada, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.

The facility, to be called the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, is the focus of stories in today’s Las Vegas Sun by reporter Marshall Allen.

“The partnership with the Cleveland Clinic makes this building become two words I’ve wanted from the beginning: indelible and perpetuity,” Larry Ruvo told the Sun. “Those two words are what’s going to cure this disease.”

The impact of the Cleveland Clinic’s involvement cannot be overstated. A $5 billion operation with 38,000 employees, the hospital has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the fourth best in the country and as being in the top 10 nationally in neurology and eight other specialties.

Southern Nevada has already begun attracting world-class medical specialists through the Nevada Cancer Institute. But the overall health care reputation in this part of the state is still so far from sterling that people continue to go elsewhere for certain kinds of surgeries and for other forms of major treatment.

The Cleveland Clinic will give an immediate boost to the quality of health care in the valley and will give Southern Nevada a much higher profile role in medical research. The partnership with Ruvo also holds out promise that the Clinic will one day expand its presence in Las Vegas.

“A partnership with a major medical institution is going to take us to another level,” Ruvo said. “We’re a wonderful city, but you can’t be a great city without major medical care.”

One of the attributes that makes the Cleveland Clinic special is its emphasis on running an operation that places the care of patients above all else. When Allen visited the hospital’s main campus in Cleveland, he discovered that its employees wear buttons that say “Patients First.”

In contrast with the way most Las Vegas hospitals operate, the clinic’s 1,800 physicians are all salaried employees who are held accountable for providing quality care. All overnight patients, and many outpatients, are asked to rate their care once they have been treated. That information is then used when the clinic’s physicians undergo annual performance reviews.

The Cleveland Clinic also has a commitment to transparency that includes publishing infection rates, surgical outcomes and physician conflicts of interest, information that is normally kept secret or not even compiled in Las Vegas.

The hospital’s chief executive, Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, said: “If you look at our mission statement, we don’t say that we’re the best. We say that we strive to become the best ... We’re always going to be trying to get better.”

The way the brain center is designed will certainly raise the bar on patient treatment in the valley. Patients will be greeted by valets and taken immediately to their rooms. A calming atmosphere will be created through the use of natural light and soft colors. Roughly a half-dozen physicians will be on site, but they’ll consult with 150 other neurological specialists based in Cleveland to give the brain center a deep reserve of medical expertise.

All of this will be housed in a Gehry-designed pavilion with an undulating roof and 550 interlocking stainless steel pieces, no two alike. In addition to a resume that includes the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Gehry happens to be a tireless advocate of research into brain disorders, which makes his participation a natural fit.

Much of the $100 million it will cost to complete the clinic at the northeast corner of Grand Central Parkway and Bonneville Avenue has already been committed through private donations. The brain center will serve as a reminder of the good things that can occur through the generosity of others.

The valley’s residents owe Larry Ruvo and his family a deep debt of gratitude for their tremendous contribution to health care in Southern Nevada.

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