When it comes to health care, Nevada needs more of just about everything

Daniel Mathis

Daniel Mathis

In 2012, Daniel Mathis became president and CEO of the Nevada Health Care Association, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of care in Nevada’s nursing homes. Among his duties: advocating for the organization’s member institutions to legislators in Carson City.

The Nevada Health Care Association has grown significantly over the past year. What is the expected growth over the next few years?

We expect to represent post-acute care providers in Nevada to help improve care in the state. With the passing of the IMPACT 14 legislation in Congress last fall, we are drawn together more than ever and will be measured by the quality of care we deliver.

How has care in nursing facilities changed over the past year?

Our quality measures have improved across the state. One reason has been the evidence-based education we’ve been able to provide, specifically targeting facilities that weren’t performing as well as others. One example is the improvement of the Minimum Data Set (MDS) accuracy rate for such facilities in Nevada from 74 percent to 82 percent. The MDS is part of the federally mandated process for clinical assessment of all residents in Medicare or Medicaid-certified nursing homes. This process provides a comprehensive assessment of each resident’s functional capabilities and helps nursing home staff identify health problems. We still have much work to do, but we’ve been making solid progress recently.

What does the NVHCA Perry Foundation do?

The Perry Foundation analyzes compliance and “Online Survey, Certification and Reporting” (OSCAR) data and then formulates specific education for providers. Sometimes education is engineered specifically for a single provider when asked.

How can people advocate for better nursing home care?

Consumers can affect care in a post-acute setting by participating in the provider’s care plan programming and having open communication with the caregivers. People who want to advocate for residents or patients in a post-acute care setting such as local nursing homes should focus on outcomes or quality measures. In looking at the data and knowing the reimbursement history for Medicare and Medicaid, what needs to happen is obvious. We need to increase the reimbursement rate the state provides to such facilities, which is something we are encouraging state leaders to do during the legislative session this year.

What would improve health care in Nevada?

Medicaid and Medicare rate increase for providers would be the biggest thing, as well as training and education for providers on how to improve the quality measures already in place. We need more clinicians, including nurses and therapists.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Getting consensus with providers. Now that we represent more than just Nevada’s skilled nursing and assisted-living providers, getting folks to agree on how to implement the changes compelled by the Affordable Care Act is troubling to all providers in different ways.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job?

Success in improving how Nevada is ranked nationally in health care. I also enjoy meeting the providers and consumers, especially in educational forums, and seeing the “light” come on for them when we discuss quality of care and related issues.

What are you reading right now?

I have been reading mainly proposed legislation. I am looking for my next read. More than likely, it will be a biography or historical book. I also read some science fiction on summer vacation.

What do you do after work?

Work! I enjoy target practice, water sports, motorcycle riding and hunting, for the most part. With three kids in college and one in high school, most of my activities are in support of their activities.

Blackberry, iPhone or Android?


Describe your management style.

Chaotic mostly, with lots of interruptions. I will set an expectation for employees, and it is up to them to figure out how to get it done. My style has changed from when I ran skilled nursing facilities to what I do now. Trying to get consensus on an issue is different than directing care as a provider. I am more of a shepherd now than a dictator, when I was responsible for hundreds of souls, including employees and residents.

Where do you see yourself and the association in 10 years?

Doing exactly the same job, improving care here in Nevada.

What is your dream job, outside of your current field?

A hunting and fishing guide or motorcycle instructor.

Whom do you admire and why?

Gov. Brian Sandoval. His commitment to health care and behavioral health in Nevada is great. With his support, Nevada can raise its standing nationally.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

How some people treat service employees or members of the armed forces. It amazes me how poorly some people treat the ones who make our lives better. In a health care facility, the people who work in the laundry and housekeeping departments are often forgotten until there is an issue. In a facility, the administrator or director of nursing can have a bad day without much impact. If the laundry goes down, the entire facility feels it immediately.

What is something people might not know about you?

I surf on Lake Mead in the summer and consider myself a pretty good cook.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I like to say, “Everyone has two stories, a motorcycle story and a nursing home story, both ending poorly. I’m trying to change that.”

Tags: The Sunday