Nevada Drug Card Media Center

Medical Society Mini Internship gives perspective on doctors jobs

One of the most common complaints in health care involves people not getting enough time with their doctors. Patients often feel rushed without having their questions answered or conditions addressed.

The Clark County Medical Society can't promise more time with your primary care provider, but the group's Mini Internship Program offers so much access to a physician you'll feel worn out by the end of the day. By shadowing doctors, participants witness the delivery of health care from an insider's perspective and the multifaceted world of those who have taken the Hippocratic oath.

The program tries to show people all the pressures a doctor goes through each and every day, said Dr. Keith Brill, the Medical Society's immediate past president. The face time with patients is only part of it. I wish I would only see patients all day.

Patient interaction represents only part of a doctor's day. Consultations, charting, preparation time, phone calls: Mini interns learn what goes in the back office. The program, offered twice a year for either a day or half-day, is designed primarily for people who have a connection to the health care industry insurers, lawyers, judges, lawmakers or other government officials but the general public also can apply. Participants can choose from a range of medical disciplines from cardiology to infectious diseases to urology.

Suzanne Domoracki, program director for Nevada Drug Card, a free statewide prescription assistance program, interned with Dr. George Alexander, a Las Vegas plastic surgeon. She spent the day shadowing Alexander as he completed several procedures at the Surgical Center at Tenaya, an outpatient clinic near MountainView Hospital. Domoracki's professional life revolves around medicine, but she never had such a glimpse behind the scenes. She chose to spend a day in an operating room because she wanted to challenge herself.

I didn't even know whether I was really up for it. I get squeamish, and I wanted to know whether I could handle it, Domoracki said. Working with Dr. Alexander, everyone felt very comfortable, very calm, and there's no frenzy whatsoever. He's got the greatest bedside manner.

Domoracki's experience was similar to other participants who frequently express wonder at the physicians' attention to detail and breadth of knowledge. Domoracki also was impressed with patients' willingness to let an observer participate in the process.

"I was amazed there was no opposition to an outsider participating in a procedure that's so personal," Domoracki said.

The program is not for the faint of heart. Interns don gowns and gloves, and have a front-row seat to examinations, surgeries and other invasive procedures. A day with a cancer specialist probably will include a biopsy, the removal of tissue for diagnostic study. If you intern with a gastroenterologist, you might witness your first colonoscopy, the examination of the large intestine's inner lining.

"Some of the procedures are a little more intense than others," said Dr. Daniel Burkhead, a Las Vegas pain specialist who once had an intern quietly leave the room because she saw more than she could handle.

Patient safety and consideration are paramount.

"My priority is always the patient," said Dr. Souzan El-Eid, a Las Vegas breast cancer specialist. "If anything is going to jeopardize that, I block it."

Burkhead and El-Eid were co-chairs of the program this year for the Medical Society, a professional organization with 1,437 members serving the needs of physicians, their patients and the Clark County community. The intern program has existed for about 15 years and averages from seven to 15 participants. A record number of interns - 21 - took part in March.

The program changes course in the spring to include students considering medical careers from valley prep schools including Rancho High School and West Career and Technical Academy. The Junior Mini Internship Program will run March 9-26, and community and business leaders still will be included.

Spending a day with a doctor could be a defining moment for young people weighing career options, galvanizing their decision to enter medicine because they have the firsthand experience, Burkhead said.

"If given the chance to spend a full day with a physician in a completely spontaneous and unscripted setting, it will really open the eyes of someone looking to go into the profession as a career choice," he said.

The doctors plan their days with the interns as much as possible, but like any endeavor involving human interaction, they must adjust to the situation. Burkhead's day with his latest intern, Bonnie Wallen, an administrative assistant with the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, was interrupted when a staff member said one of the patients harbored thoughts of self-harm.

Burkhead's full focus then turned to the patient.

"When he mentioned to my staff that he was thinking of hurting himself, I reconfirmed with him about having an intern participate, and he said he was OK with that," Burkhead said. "He and I then proceeded to have a very detailed conversation about his suicidal thoughts and whether he had the means to hurt himself."

Burkhead conducted the in-depth assessment required of all medical professionals in such situations to detect warning signs in the patient's words, behavior, posture and attitude. Burkhead determined the patient did not need emergency psychiatric treatment, but the incident is an example of how a doctor must expect the unexpected.

Structure is key in operating rooms. Surgeons train extensively for any circumstance, but the goal is carrying out a well-defined plan for all the experts involved in the procedure. Dr. Michael Edwards, a Las Vegas plastic surgeon and this year's Medical Society president, admits to running a very tight ship. From his anesthesiologist, Dr. Scott Boman, to the rest of his surgical team, Edwards knows exactly what to expect.

Several outsiders have watched Edwards during his 18-year practice in Southern Nevada, but his main worry always is the observer. He participated in the Mini Internship Program for the first time in October taking on Kim Friedman, an investigator with the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.

"My only concern was whether the intern would faint or pass out because I run a very tight ship," Edwards said. "Whenever an outsider comes into the operating room, there's always a little bit of an orientation."

The elimination of the unexpected begins with the first contact a doctor makes with a patient. Interns who shadow El-Eid, also a breast cancer surgeon, will witness among the most extensive health-history inquiries of patients. Investigating the family tree for any form of cancer and other illness is vital for an oncologist.

"If I'm going to take care of a patient, if I'm going to need to do surgery, I don't want to have any surprises," El-Eid said.

The Mini Internship Program provides an authentic look at how health care is delivered and gives participants a view from a doctor's perspective without going to medical school. The Medical Society's doctors await, eager to show Southern Nevadans the quality of medicine available to them.

"I have such a strong sense of what great medicine is being practiced in Southern Nevada, and I'm frustrated more people don't have the chance to see just how exceptional their health care can be," Edwards said.

Contact Steven Moore at 702-380-4563 or

Nevada Drug Card Selected As Best Program In Nevada For 2011

(Carson City, NV) – announced today that the Nevada Drug Card has been voted, “The 2011 Best Rx Assistance Program in Nevada”. Programs were rated by industry professionals across the following categories: Program Access, Program Benefits, Customer Support, Prescription Formulary List, Rx Discounts, and Network Coverage. Nevada Drug Card was launched in May 2008 and has saved Nevadans more than $8.5 million on their prescription drugs.

About Nevada Drug Card

Nevada Drug Card is a free statewide prescription assistance program open to anyone regardless of age or income. There are no forms to fill out and no restrictions on membership. The program was launched in conjunction with the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce to help the uninsured and underinsured afford their prescription medications. Those with health insurance can also use the program on non-covered drugs. Both brand and generic medications are eligible for discounts ranging from 30%-75%. Nevada residents can obtain a free card, search drug pricing, and locate participating pharmacies by visiting Anyone not able to obtain a card can visit any CVS/pharmacy or Albertson's Sav-on pharmacy location in Nevada and ask to have their prescription processed through the Nevada Drug Card. CVS/pharmacy and Albertson's Sav-on have been named the preferred pharmacies for the program by offering this service to residents. Nevada Drug Card is accepted at more than 56,000 pharmacies across the country, including all major chains. For more information, visit the website at

About Rx Resource

Rx Resource is a site designed to provide knowledge and support to individuals looking to simplify the confusing maze of discount programs and patient assistance programs that have appeared in recent years. Rx Resource provides a wide array of information, services and expertise for those looking for healthcare relief. For more information, visit the website at

Nevada Drug Card and Las Vegas Chamber Offer Rx Assistance

(Las Vegas, NV) – Nevada Drug Card, a statewide prescription assistance program, announced today that it has partnered with the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Their mission is to ensure that all Nevada residents have access to the free drug card program. The Chamber has committed to help create awareness for Nevada Drug Card and to work with members to develop additional card distribution sites.

"The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a partner in offering this free discount prescription card to all Nevadans. With so many Nevadans without health insurance, the Nevada Drug Card is an opportunity to help Nevada residents save money and access the prescriptive medications they need," says Kara Kelley, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

Nevada Drug Card was launched to help the uninsured and underinsured residents of Nevada afford their prescription medications. However, the program can also be used by people who have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits, which is common in many health savings accounts (HSA) and high deductible health plans. Additionally, people who have prescription coverage can use this program for non-formulary or non-covered drugs.

Nevadans can download a free discount prescription drug card by visiting or Anyone not able to access the website, or otherwise obtain a member card, can simply visit any Albertsons/Sav-on pharmacy location and ask the pharmacist to process their prescription through the Nevada Drug Card. The card is accepted at over 50,000 pharmacies around the country.

Drug Card program a way for Nevadans to save

Up-wards of 18 percent of the people who live in Nevada do not have medical insurance and even more do not have prescription drug coverage.

As we all know, prescription drugs can be very expensive, so much so that people often chose between the drugs and other essentials they need as well. However now, Nevadans are receiving some very badly needed help paying the high cost of prescription drugs.

Mattie Williamson, a 70-year old woman, spends close to $100 a month at her local neighborhood pharmacy. "I have three (prescriptions) now that are $35."

She just found out about a new free prescription drug card that could help lower the cost of her prescription drugs.

"I try to save anyway I can." She says.

Anyone who lives in Nevada can apply for the Nevada Drug Card; there are no restriction what so ever. No income requirements, no age limitations and no applications to fill out. All someone has to do is provide their name and e-mail address online and then download and print the prescription card.

The average savings is around 30 percent, while you can receive savings up to 75 percent. More than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies are participants. Participants include Albertsons/Sav-On, K-mart, VONS, CVS, Longs Drugs and Safeway. It's free help that could save alot of people alot of money each month.

To sign up for the program, visit the Nevada Drug Card web site. If you cannot go online, try calling your pharmacy directly to ask them about this program.

NV Drug Card Gives Patients Access To Needed Medicines

Free Patient Assistance Programs Offset Costs for Patients

Nevada's unemployment rate is currently at 12.6 percent. Even more people are underemployed, and those are just the people who are declared. As of last year, Nevada also had the largest percentage of illegal immigrants in the country, 7.2 percent of Nevada's population, according to data provided by Pew Hispanic Center last year.

Still, people become sick every day – regardless of whether they are unemployed, underemployed or gainfully employed. Sadly, people in all of these categories often find themselves in a situation where their medications cost more than they can afford to pay. As a result, people with illnesses – sometimes as debilitating as MS or lupus – end up skipping days, weeks or even months of taking their medications because they simply can't afford them. Illnesses such as these and others progress if medications aren't taken consistently, and lifelong problems can arise simply because they can't afford their medications.

That's why members of the public and private sector have joined forces to establish patient assistance programs that can help fill in the gaps.

One such program is the Nevada Drug Card, which was established in 2008 to help people afford their medications. The free prescription assistance program provides users with savings of up to75 percent off their prescriptions. Since its launch, Nevada Drug Card has already saved its users more than $7.9 million.

Obtaining a card is as simple as visiting, printing out a card and bringing it to any one of the 459 participating pharmacies throughout Nevada – 56,000 throughout the country – including CVS/pharmacy, Albertsons/Savon, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and more.

Those who are not able to print a card can visit any CVS/pharmacy, Albertsons/Sav-On pharmacy in Nevada and ask them to process their prescription through Nevada Drug Card. For those who don't speak English well, the website offers 44 additional language options. The card can be used by those without health insurance, but those with insurance can benefit as well, as not all insurance plans cover every prescription.

"There are so many instances where our plan has helped out," said Suzanne Domoracki, program development director for Nevada Drug Card.

Another program that was established to help patients gain access to the medications they need is, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For the first time ever, the nonprofit organization helped consumers save more than $1 million dollars in December 2011. Users can search for their medication (name brand or generic) on the site; based on the medication requested, the website will offer recommendations for suitable patient assistance programs. Users can also search for medication coupons, which can be printed straight from the site.

NeedyMeds also offers a drug discount card as well. Like Nevada Drug Card, it can't be combined with insurance, but those with (and without) insurance can use it.

A third program, which is available nationally and also free, is the U.S. Pharmacy Card. The card, which includes participation by more than 59,000 U.S. pharmacies to provide annual savings up to 45 percent, allows cardholders to save on both brand name and generic drugs. Savings on a single prescription range from a few percent up to 95 percent off the retail price of the drug.

All members of a family can use the card and, like Nevada Drug Card, the U.S. Pharmacy Card can be printed and used immediately. There are no age, income or other exclusions. For those who speak another language, there are 52 languages options in which the site can be viewed.

These are just three of the many programs available to patients who need help affording their medications. While some physicians are quick to recommend patient assistance programs to their patients, many don't think of it. Domoracki recommends all patients ask their doctors for information on local patient assistance programs – including coupons, co-pay cards, pharmacy cards, drug cards and others.

Domoracki said she, herself, regularly gives patients referrals to other programs as well.

"Our goal is to help patients have access to the medications they need," she said.

For more information on Nevada Drug Card, call 702-510-0100. For more information on NeedyMeds, visit; for more information on the U.S. Pharmacy Card, visit or call 1-800-931-8872.

Nevada Drug Card: 2012 Best Rx Assistance Program Rankings

A recent poll conducted by industry professionals at focused on the best ways to cut costs on prescription drugs.

The poll results focused on the top three prescription assistance programs in Nevada. Nevada Drug Card out-ranked all other programs and came in number one. Below are the results and details from the poll:

1. Nevada Drug Card - Nevada Drug Card is a free statewide prescription assistance program that was launched in 2008. The program is open to all residents of Nevada regardless of age or income.

2. Nevada Senior Rx - Nevada Senior Rx provides certain Nevadans with relief from the high cost of prescription medications. The program is administered through the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

3. Together Rx Acess - Together Rx Access offers individuals and families, that meet certain qualification criteria/standards, with access to savings on prescription products.

Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition Launches Free Drug Card Program

SNMIC to Provide Prescription Assistance to Southern Nevada Residents

LAS VEGAS - The Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition (SNMIC) officially announced its plans to offer discount drug cards to the residents of Nevada. The program is free to everyone and provides savings of up to 75% on prescription drugs at over 56,000 regional and national pharmacies. There are no restrictions to membership, no income requirements, no age limitations and no applications to fill out.

The goal of the new program is to provide additional card distribution channels and create awareness so that all SNMIC members and Nevadans will have access to this prescription assistance program. SNMIC is committed to improving access and delivery of medical care in Southern Nevada, and is in the best position to distribute this benefit to all Nevada residents.

"We are pleased to offer this benefit to our community," said Ann Lynch, Chairman of the Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition. "Access to prescription medications are vital to a healthy community. If people can't afford their medications, their health issues can escalate, increasing their risk for heart attacks, strokes, or other life-changing diseases. Lack of access to medications can also increase the likelihood of hospitalization at some point."

The SNMIC prescription assistance program was launched to the help uninsured and underinsured afford their prescription medications. The program, however, can also be used by people who have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits, which is common in many health savings accounts (HSA) and high deductible health plans. Additionally, people who have prescription coverage can use this program for non-covered drugs.

Residents can download a free card, search drug pricing and locate participating pharmacies at