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Cystic fibrosis patients worried over closing of area's only clinic

Cystic fibrosis patients worried over closing of area's only clinic

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Aug 29, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- People battling cystic fibrosis are worried about their medical care after learning the valley's only specialized clinic is closing.

The Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, part of the Lied Clinic at University Medical Center, will shut down on Sept. 30 as part of a cost cutting move, the hospital confirmed Friday.

"I was pretty devastated because I was very concerned about what am I going to do," said Amanda Minks, 27, who is battling the disorder.

Minks takes part in a variety of treatments to battle her cystic fibrosis. She said she has used the clinic almost her entire life.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. The disease impacts about 30,000 adults and children in the United States, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The local clinic provides a range of services - from doctors to dietitians - all under one roof. It's considered the only one of its kind in Southern Nevada.

UMC spokeswoman Danita Cohen said the clinic's doctors and specialists are staying in the area and will still provide services at other offices in the community, but patients will no longer be able to access all the services under one roof.

Cohen said the closing is expected to impact 175 patients. 

The hospital has been struggling financially and announced in August plans to layoff around 200 employees and close the Lied Clinic. The moves are expected to save the facility around $21 million annually, Cohen said.

Minks relies on Medicare and Medicaid. While the doctors will still work locally, she's worried about finding providers who accept her coverage.

"If I can barely get to my doctor's appointments now, how's it going to be if they close," Minks said.

Cohen said the hospital notified employees on Friday who may be laid off.

UMC is advising patients to check with their insurance companies to help find local providers.