LAS VEGAS -- Clark County's only public hospital is now under new leadership. The hospital faces tight budgets, packed emergency rooms and a mental health crisis.
When CEO Brian Brannman decided to take a higher paying job leading Saint Rose Hospitals, Larry Barnard, who was second in line e at University Medical Center, got the top spot.
Barnard, 34, is the youngest CEO to ever lead UMC.
"After leaving West Point, I become a helicopter pilot," he said.
Barnard got his administrative experience leading a for-profit hospital in Southern California. UMC is a taxpayer funded public hospital. Caring for those in poverty means the hospital runs at a financial loss. Barnard hopes to bring in more specialty care to get closer to breaking even financially.
"One thing UMC has not done very well, I think, in the past, is focusing on bringing in revenue, to offset costs," Barnard said.
And how will he do that?
"I think a discussion is, we work very closely with the medical school, but there are also community physicians out there that we need to address and spend time with," he said.
Barnard realizes he needs to change the perception of UMC.
Nevada's mental health crisis recently forced the hospital to declare a temporary state of "internal disaster." Emergency rooms filled with the mentally ill caused UMC to divert ambulances to other facilities.
Barnard said he will press harder to emphasize UMC's unique selling points.
"The only trauma level 1, the only trauma pediatric 2, the only burn center, the only transplant," he said.
A lot rests on Barnard's shoulders. For so many Las Vegans, UMC is the only place they can find care. Yes, Barnard is young for a hospital chief, but he says that won't prevent him from making the tough decisions to keep UMC's doors open.
"In my mind, truly, if health care is going to change in this city, it's going to be from UMC," he said.
The I-Team recently gathered up the prices of what Clark County hospitals charge patients for most medical procedures. University Medical Center scored as one of the least costly hospitals.
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