Statement from University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. in response to KLAS-TV report
The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (“UNR Med”) and its associated medical practices are committed to providing quality health care to all Nevadans. Between 1981 and June 30, 2017, we were honored to serve the southern Nevada community through a group of highly skilled and well-respected faculty physicians who practiced primarily in association with University Medical Center, most of whom continue to serve southern Nevada today as members of the UNLV School of Medicine.
The audit referenced in last night’s KLAS-TV newscast was commissioned as part of the due diligence process to transition the responsibility for medical education in southern Nevada from UNR Med to the UNLV School of Medicine. Audits of this nature are routinely completed to identify areas where strengthening of processes would benefit a strong compliance program.
The audit in question was provided to UNLV on July 7, 2016. Based on the results of the audit, UNLV entered into an agreement on August 18, 2016 to hire nearly all of the physicians included in the audit to establish its own separate faculty medical practice. Because UNLV formed a new, separate corporation to provide medical services, it had the discretion to choose which physicians to hire. We believe that the reason UNLV hired the doctors who previously worked for UNR Med was because of the valuable service that these physicians provide to the community.
Contrary to the statements in the newscast, the audit made no findings of fraud and the auditor expressed that the results were “mostly typical.” There were some areas that called for additional physician education and internal review. As a result, UNR Med performed additional investigations and provided compliance education to physicians where warranted. Additionally, UNR Med did pay back overpayments in compliance with federal law.
UNR Med is proud of its history of service in southern Nevada and supports UNLV School of Medicine as we engage in our common goal of training the next generation of doctors to serve Nevada. We are concerned that these confidential materials, protected by attorney-client privilege and generated in support of achieving that common goal, were disclosed in what we consider to be a serious breach of professional and legal ethics.