Khavkins look toward medical tourism

Medical tourism is a growing part of the Las Vegas economy, and Drs. Jeannie and Yevgeniy Khavkin want to be at the forefront.

The couple, who opened the Khavkin Clinic in 2013, are planning for its expansion with the construction of a multi-specialty facility that primarily serves Southern Nevada. But part of their focus is on medical tourism.

They have acquired land in the southwest valley for a 60,000-square-foot clinic and surgery center.

Some 10 percent of the practice relies on medical tourism, and that figure continues to grow. Patients come from Russia, Canada, Mexico, South America, China and Eastern Europe.

“Most people in this country have insurance, and they go locally for care,” Yevgeniy said. “Las Vegas’ reputation is such that it is the capital of hospitality, entertainment and shopping but few people in this country think of it as a place to go for medical care. It’s very different internationally. It’s very highly respected and people like to come here because our medical care is regarded as the best in the world.”

Yevgeniy said the international patients are people who can afford to travel abroad for medical care and who pay with cash. They consider such places as the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and John Hopkins, but people want an experience when they travel, he said.

“Those facilities are wonderful, but they’re not in the most attractive parts of the country. You’re talking Rochester, Baltimore and Cleveland. They’re not some place to go visit. Vegas is a whole different level. A lot of people come here for excellent medical care and a great experience. They enjoy their time here because they come with their families.”

Yevgeniy said the practice hopes to start construction within a couple of years but doesn’t have a timetable. He called it an exciting project that’s part of the trend that’s taking hold in Las Vegas’ medical community.

“I have gotten to know a lot of great physicians over the years, and some of the best I’ve ever worked with are right here in town,” Yevgeniy said. “Recently more and more greatly trained physicians are coming here to stay and open practices and deliver great care. That’s exciting.”

Yevgeniy said he is still bothered by the stories he heard when he moved to Las Vegas. People joked that the place to go for the best medical care is McCarran International Airport.

“That’s not a joke you want to hear as a physician,” Yevgeniy said. “The perception is changing. More and more people who live here and used to travel elsewhere for care are staying in town and getting great care. It’s not just in my field, but all fields in medicine.”

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