Increasing access to specialty care across the Las Vegas Valley

Dr. Sonya Mehta understood what she was coming into when she joined Intermountain Health in November 2023. She was coming in to fill a much-needed service that handles arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, and certain autoimmune diseases to Nevada. As Intermountain Health’s first and only rheumatologist in the Nevada Medical Group, Dr. Mehta will now establish the practice and service line in the Las Vegas community.

Dr. Sonya Mehta

She began seeing patients in the first week of December. In her short time seeing patients, she realized how badly a rheumatologist was needed in Nevada.

“They’ve been super appreciative of having a rheumatologist,” Dr. Mehta said. “Some have been waiting for six months. Others, even more like eight months, 10 months, so everyone’s been very grateful and pleasant to deal with.”

Dr. Diane Alonso, associate chief medical officer, said it was a priority for Intermountain to find a rheumatologist due to that need. It did, however, take time as the candidate needed to be comfortable with starting a practice – mostly due to finding one that would move to Nevada and one who would be comfortable being a solo practitioner.

Although Dr. Mehta would be the first physician in the practice,she is able to lean on the strength of the Desert Region by finding clinical connections and support within the rheumatology services in southwest Utah.

“We’re lucky that Dr. Mehta is a confident providerwho aligns with our organization’s mission and values and trusted in the process of a starting a new service line,” Dr. Alonso said. “Dr. Mehta is very engaged, and I’m excited to see how this service line takes shape under her guidance.  I think she will bring many great ideas that will benefit our patents and teams”

Dr. Mehta received her undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and earned her Doctor of Medicine from University of Cincinnati. She then completed her rheumatology fellowship at New York University Long Island Hospital, before moving to Fargo, N.D.

She came to Intermountain with the intention of providing patients with the best care and saw an opportunity to advance her career.

“I’m happy that all of the knowledge and skills I’ve spent so much time accruing are going to be of benefit to people in this area,” Dr. Mehta said.

One thing that makes the Dr. Mehta excited is the infusion center located directly in the clinic, which allows patients to receive the medicine they need intravenously instead of orally to relieve some conditions associated with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.

“Infusions are a large part of rheumatology treatment,” Dr. Mehta said. “It’s huge to be able to have that on site, and it’s just makes it easier to monitor patients while they’re on infusions and be present in case there are any reactions or any questions.”

Along with the infusion center, Intermountain has given her access to a wealth of knowledge and connected her with other specialists, such as orthopedics, along with a team ready to collaborate with in southwest Utah.

“They’ve been able to provide me with everything that is needed to run a successful rheumatology practice,” Dr. Mehta said.

The addition of the rheumatology service line allows Intermountain to provide another way to help patients live their healthiest lives possible.

“Our patients will have more direct access to rheumatology for more difficult rheumatologic problems,” Dr. Alonso said. “They might not be delayed for treatment as it has happened to the past. We may not have to send them to other places as much as we have had in the past.”

Part of being well is being heard.