11 April 2023
Access to health care has never been a more pressing issue for Nevadans. National health care studies have ranked our state 50th in the nation for access to needed health care and nearly last in the affordability of that care. Nevada also ranks near the bottom in access to critical prenatal care and the availability of women’s health care.
Our state’s health care statistics cannot improve if current legislation removes a law preventing predatory litigation. Both AB404 and AB209 intend to do just that — remove every common sense protection Nevada providers currently have.
As an OB-GYN practicing in Nevada for more than 20 years, I have experienced firsthand the changes to our health care landscape – both positive and negative. I was in practice in the early 2000s when the rate of lawsuits against doctors drove our costs to impossible levels. As a result, I saw too many of my colleagues forced to leave practice in our state in search of more affordable conditions. My partners and I were part of the shrunken and overburdened pool of doctors left to care for the women and families who were suddenly stranded without a physician during a life-changing health event.
It’s concerning to see history repeating itself at the expense of the patients I care for. Nevada’s physician-to-patient ratios are already critically low, and the proposed legislation changes would send those numbers to disastrous levels.
In 2004, Nevadans voted to combat these issues by placing limits on unreasonable lawsuits that were driving doctors away from every community in our state. Despite a rapidly growing population and lack of infrastructure investments, these protections have helped keep a core population of physicians seeing the patients that need them most.
We need to keep doctors in Nevada and protect our community’s right to access health care when and how we need it. AB404 and AB209 would both have the effect of driving away health care resources from this state when our community needs them the most. I and my fellow providers are calling on every legislator regardless of party to oppose these bills and instead concentrate on expanding Nevadans access to health care.
Dr. Rebecca Herrero is the CEO of Women’s Health Associates of Southern Nevada and has been active in Your Nevada Doctors. She is an adjunct faculty member at Touro University and UNLV School of Medicine.