Thursday, June 15, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Members of the Culinary Union will receive a shot in the arm and a whole lot more with today’s opening of a one-stop shop for their medical needs in east Las Vegas.
Gov. Brian Sandoval and former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid are among the dignitaries expected to attend the grand opening ceremony of the 59,0000-square-foot Culinary Health Center, 650 N. Nellis Blvd.
Open for all eligible Culinary Health Fund members, the two-story building houses a full range of medical care, including adult and pediatric primary care, as well as dental, optometry and urgent care. A pharmacy and a lab are also on site.
“We’re bringing quality health care to workers in Nevada in a major way,” said Bethany Khan, Culinary Union spokeswoman. “The Culinary Union has fought for health care policy for decades, so this one-stop facility is doing that with everything it offers.”
There are 26 primary adult care rooms, nine pediatric care rooms, 15 dentist rooms and 13 urgent care rooms. The facility also houses an X-ray room, an 80-slice CT scanner, a call center and a social care center.
The building was funded by the Culinary Health Fund, made up entirely of a portion of Culinary Union member fees. The project was a complete remodel of a previous building and took three years from planning to construction to complete.
Culinary officials chose the area in the valley because 46,000 members live within a close radius of the facility.
“We have a huge amount of membership right here in this general vicinity, so the health center is literally in their backyard,” said John Socha, vice president of health center design and strategy. “It comes out to 30 to 35 percent of our membership.”
The health center has 150 employees, with many of the primary care medical staff coming from outside of Nevada.
“Much of them are from out of state, and that was by design,” said Dr. David Pak, medical director for primary and pediatric care. “We already have a capacity issue here (in Nevada). We don’t have enough primary care providers, so the Culinary Union really made it a priority to recruit more primary care physicians from out of state to here.”
After looking at the best practices across the country, the team picked their favorite pieces from various facilities and incorporated them into the center. The construction was carried out with local union labor through the Penta Building Group.
“The whole idea was to blow up health care,” Socha said. “We got rid of the white walls, to instead of being cold, to engage folks and make them feel like this is their health center. If you walk into the waiting room, it feels like a living room.”
Primary care is projected to get about 35,000 visits per year, urgent care will get 10,000 per year and the pharmacy could fill up to 250,000 prescriptions each year.
The Culinary Health Fund’s provider network remains intact, and members will not be required to visit the Culinary Health Center or change providers. The new center serves as another venue for members to address their health care needs.
Culinary Health Center’s care partners include Activate Healthcare, Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Desert Radiology, The EyeCare Center, Nevada Dental Benefits, OptumRx and U.S. Acute Care Solutions.
Distance care is also offered. Patients can call in, describe their symptoms to a doctor and email photos of affected areas if needed. They then will be told if they should come in for a visit or if they can be prescribed medication over the phone.
The goal of the center is to make the patient's experience at the facility as quick and enjoyable as possible, Pak said.
“It’s not about us — it’s about the patient,” Pak said. “What we want to do is create an environment where they can get most or all of their health care needs in one facility."
The Health Center will be open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The urgent care is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.