Number of Endocrinologists is Shrinking in Southern Nevada - 8 News NOW

Paula Francis, Anchor

Number of Endocrinologists is Shrinking in Southern Nevada

Posted: Updated:

The number of diabetics in the Las Vegas community is on the rise, but the number of endocrinologists is shrinking. Patients have to wait for appointments and the doctors are overworked.

Endocrinologists treat diabetes and other hormone-related disorders including pituitary disease, thyroid disease, and osteoporosis.

The number of these specialists in Southern Nevada has been reduced dramatically in the last few months because three doctors have retired, and a couple of others are too ill to work fulltime.

Henderson endocrinologist Reid Litchfield is working overtime to compensate. "There's more and more patients to see and only so many hours in a day or a week to see those patients. So it forces us to try and screen patients that are calling in for assistance and patients may have to wait a little longer to be seen," he said.

Dr. Litchfield also says recruiting can be difficult because of Nevada's high malpractice rates and shrinking insurance reimbursement.

It wasn't always this way. Just five years ago, Maureen Hart's late father, a diabetic, never had a problem getting into see an endocrinologist. But her daughter now finds it difficult just to get an appointment.

Maureen Hart said, "So we're really in a Catch 22. We're going to have an increase in physical needs in our population and a decrease in the ability to treat that population. We're kind of on a powder keg waiting for something to happen."

The shortage of endocrinologists means an expanding role for surrogate caregivers.

Dr. Litchfield continued, "And I think we're seeing more and more mid-level providers such as nurse practitioners and physicians assistants helping the endocrinologists that are here."

Dr Litchfield worries that our local shortage will become widespread because he says medical school students are choosing more lucrative specialties, like cardiology. He says the shortage is being felt even more by those in need of a pediatric endocrinologist.

Meanwhile, primary care physicians are helping to pick up the slack in care, after diabetic patients have been trained to measure their glucose levels and administer insulin.

  • Paula's Health NotesLas Vegas Health NewsMore>>

  • Prostate frozen lumpectomy offers patients an alternative

    Prostate frozen lumpectomy offers patients an alternative

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:00:33 GMT
    More than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year according to the American cancer society. In most cases, surgical removal of the gland is considered the gold standard of treatment, but results of a new study suggest a new treatment might benefit some patients.More>>
    More than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year according to the American cancer society. In most cases, surgical removal of the gland is considered the gold standard of treatment, but results of a new study suggest a new treatment might benefit some patients.More>>
  • New therapies for epilepsy

    New therapies for epilepsy

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:00:14 GMT
    pilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that affects more than 2.5 million Americans. Uncontrollable seizures plague these patients’ lives. Until now, the only treatments were drugs and major surgery, but new therapies are on the horizon.More>>
    pilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that affects more than 2.5 million Americans. Uncontrollable seizures plague these patients’ lives. Until now, the only treatments were drugs and major surgery, but new therapies are on the horizon.More>>
  • Study touts health care workers with less than bachelor's degree

    Study touts health care workers with less than bachelor's degree

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:08 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:08:05 GMT
    Among Las Vegas workers with less than a bachelor’s degree only 3.5 percent hold jobs in the most common health care occupations, the lowest percentage among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Brookings Institution reported Wednesday night.More>>
    Among Las Vegas workers with less than a bachelor’s degree only 3.5 percent hold jobs in the most common health care occupations, the lowest percentage among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Brookings Institution reported Wednesday night.More>>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.