Councilman Brian Knudsen is passionate about the Las Vegas Medical District – not just because the 684-acre center of medicine is in Ward 1, which he was elected to serve, but as a parent of two small children, he deeply appreciates the need for quality healthcare close to home.
As the city of Las Vegas has worked diligently over the past 20-plus years to help grow the Las Vegas Medical District, Knudsen acknowledges the city’s single most important role today is to bring about the right environment for development that will encourage the private sector to invest in the area.
“More retail and restaurants, along with neighborhood services like dry cleaners and banks, and, of course, more quality apartments and places to live, will better serve the medical students, doctors and thousands of others who work in the Medical District,” Knudsen said. “It’s incumbent on us to ensure the Las Vegas Medical District develops in a way that meets the needs of those who work and study there every day.”
Knudsen appreciates the city’s significant investment in infrastructure in the area, including development along the Charleston Blvd. corridor, expanded sidewalks and redevelopment of the Rancho corridor from 95 to Sahara. “Making the area more walkable is also key to its success as an accessible and welcoming place,” he said.
While the UNLV School of Medicine stands as a bright beacon for the future of the Las Vegas Medical District, Knudsen believes one of the biggest challenges faced by the area is the lack of graduate medical education.
“We don’t have enough slots for residencies at our local hospitals in the District,” he said. “We know that medical residents tend to launch their practices where they do their residencies, so it’s incumbent upon us to ensure there are enough opportunities, especially for those with ties to Southern Nevada. The worst thing we can do is train new doctors on taxpayer dollars and watch them leave the state. We need to work with our federal delegation and the local medical community to ensure we address this important issue.”
Knudsen is also concerned about reimbursement rates for doctors that affect their commitment to staying in the area. “We need to work with the state legislature and others to ensure our reimbursement rates are not only commensurate with the services provided, but competitive with other areas of the country,” he said. “As we endeavor to attract much needed preventative medicine practitioners and health care specialists, it’s imperative Las Vegas remains an attractive option for these highly trained individuals to put down roots.”
Knudsen is particularly excited about the funding for the UNLV School of Medicine recently approved by Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Regents. “It’s happening,” said Knudsen of the medical school’s future. “With funding in place, we can rest assured the Las Vegas Medical District will become an important center of medical learning, healing and treatment.”
Photo: Courtesy of city of Las Vegas; Brian Knudsen, Councilman Ward 1