Las Vegas Sun

December 17, 2014

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2020 Vision:

Larry Ruvo: Vegas will draw visitors, residents who want high-quality health care

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Tiffany Brown

Larry Ruvo, founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, stands outside the center. The unique and elaborate design is the work of architect Frank Gehry.

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Las Vegas will be a Mecca for health care and it will happen before 2020.

I just came back from spending time in Cleveland, where the excitement was the annual board of directors and trustees meeting. There, the Ruvo Center was officially donated to the Cleveland Clinic.

While I was there I noticed several things: 10 percent of the patients at Cleveland Clinic, about 340,000 people a year, are international visitors who come for an executive physical and their quality care.

We all know that Cleveland Clinic is going to expand its facilities in Las Vegas. British Airways is now making direct flights to Las Vegas, so international travelers can go right through Heathrow. With the health care at the Cleveland Clinic, many Europeans are going to come to Las Vegas.

There are other ways the Cleveland Clinic will influence health care in Las Vegas. The 2,000 doctors at Cleveland Clinic are on a straight salary, and they have a one-year letter of engagement. At the end of the year, they get peer-reviewed, and there is a possibility they might not get re-upped for another year.

At dinner one night, I was talking to some of these world-class doctors — one takes care of the pope, the other did the world’s first face transplant — and their wives. I asked their wives how they feel about the one-year contract, and they said: “It’s a culture here. It’s all about having the type of culture where we can collaborate with one another.”

Collaboration takes down the walls and the silos. In Las Vegas, I see a collaboration with the medical community and the medical school to make and expand for executive health physicals, for international visitors and people in the surrounding states. We can do it here. We have the amenities and hotel rooms. I’m convinced there is a huge market out there that would help stimulate our health care even more.

You don’t have to look farther than the Sun Youth Forum to see that we need to change. A high number of Las Vegas students said they would not want to come back after college or make their homes in Las Vegas. We need to change that.

When people talk about the best places to live in America, they rank two things: health care and education. If we had quality health care, the large number of senior citizens in this country would continue to move here. I believe you’re going to see our city continue to grow and expand in that area.

Larry Ruvo is founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and managing partner of Southern Wine & Spirits.

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