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University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics prepares for increase in patients who need complex care

A sign outside of an entrance road to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City...
A sign outside of an entrance road to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.(Becky Phelps/KCRG)
Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 2:18 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As hospitals across Iowa become stressed from an increase in COVID cases and record-setting hospitalizations, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics is making operational changes in anticipation of an influx in patients – with or without COVID – who need complex care. 

“As the state’s only comprehensive academic medical center, we are the backbone for meeting Iowans' complex health care needs, and we have a critical role to play in the state’s COVID response,” says Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA, chief executive officer of UI Hospitals & Clinics and associate vice president for UI Health Care. “The numbers we are seeing across the state are alarming and the stress this is putting on regional hospitals is a bellwether of what we can expect in the coming weeks. We are adjusting our operations to meet the increase in patients from across the state we are seeing who need complex care.”

UI Health Care’s operations will primarily continue as normal. However, beginning Friday, Oct. 30, it may reschedule select non-emergent surgeries and procedures that require recovery in a hospital setting if there is an anticipated bed need.

Patients are encouraged to keep appointments as decisions will be made daily based on bed capacity at UI Hospitals & Clinics and other hospitals in the region. Patients who are affected will be notified more than 24 hours in advance of the need to reschedule.

The Emergency Room and all outpatient clinics will remain open, and the majority of surgeries and procedures will continue as scheduled. 

“Unfortunately, as COVID numbers in the state continue to rise, this is what we need to do,” says Gunasekaran. “We are committed to caring for all Iowans' health care needs, but the only way we can continue to do so is if we get the pandemic under control, and that requires every citizen to take responsibility for following the safety guidelines. If we fail to control the pandemic, all hospitals will be vulnerable to being overwhelmed going into a traditionally busy winter season. We are making these changes to ‘buy some time’ for Iowans to follow safety guidelines and ‘flatten the curve’ before it is too late.”

UI Health Care urges everyone to stay vigilant and follow the recommended safety guidelines so that health care providers and all Iowans across the state can stay safe.

  1. When outside of your home, always wear a face covering. Even if you don’t expect to encounter others, keep a mask with you just in case.
  2. Avoid crowded, enclosed public spaces whenever possible.
  3. Practice physical distancing – a minimum of six feet says you care.
  4. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often.
  5. Avoid touching your face.
  6. If you do socialize, do so in small groups, preferably outdoors and follow the safety practices listed above.

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