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On Wednesday, UI Health Care leaders will meet with the Board of Regents to update them on a range of issues (see right). Among other things, we will share our continued plans for moderating expenses throughout UI Health Care, emphasizing our guiding principle that nothing should trump patient safety and quality.

I have been delighted to see the steady flow of suggestions we have received via the vpma@uiowa.edu mailbox. To date, we have received more than 200 e-mails with ideas for change, and we are evaluating those. We will report back through this newsletter as well as other channels on their feasibility. Please continue sending suggestions for improving performance at every level of the organization.

We will share information with the Board about the implementation of our Epic clinical information system. This is a huge undertaking and one of our highest organizational priorities. Successful implementation is essential to our growth and success as a top performing health system. It will require the active engagement of all those involved in our clinical operations. If asked to participate in training or other preparatory efforts, I urge you to do so in the timeframe requested. Working together, we can minimize disruptions and ensure a smooth and successful implementation. Thanks in advance for your support!

Finally, I encourage everyone to attend Dean Paul Rothman’s State of the College address on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. in the Prem Sahai Auditorium, (Level 1, Medical Education and Research Facility).

Signed, Jean Robillard

Leaders report on College and Hospital

University of Iowa Health Care leaders will meet with the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, on Wednesday, December 10, and provide the following reports.

UI Carver College of Medicine report
UI Hospitals and Clinics report
- Volume and financial performance
- Expense moderation strategy
- Actively managing length of stay
Clinical information systems update
Dance Marathon overview

UI Carver College of Medicine Dean Paul Rothman will provide the Board with an update on three ongoing searches for department heads, including:

OB-GYN–Announcement of a new chair is imminent
Internal Medicine–The search committee is appointed and chaired by Peter Densen, MD, Executive Dean
Biochemistry–The search committee is appointed and chaired by Daryl Granner, Professor Emeritus

Dr. Rothman will also discuss the College’s grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and provide updates on other topics.


In the UI Hospitals and Clinics report, Hospital CEO Ken Kates and CFO Ken Fisher will tell the Board that October was the first month of this fiscal year where Hospital expense growth was not greater than revenue growth. While the Hospital did not achieve its targeted operating margin, October was the strongest month for financial performance year to date–driven by strong revenues and holding expense growth.

In October, net patient revenues increased by 6 percent compared to September, while expenses were essentially flat. This is a positive trend and Kates will emphasize the need for a continued focus on reducing expenses, and will review with the Board the Hospital’s 9-point expense moderation strategy.

Kates will note that UI Health Care leaders have been working closely with faculty and staff to identify opportunities to grow revenues and reduce operating expenses, resulting in:

Implementation of over 200 initiatives estimated to save $22 million in this fiscal year
Approximately half of the savings are being achieved by not filling vacant positions and providing the necessary staffing through a redistribution of existing staff based upon activity and staffing needs
Reductions are also being achieved through non-labor savings such as supply cost reductions, renegotiation of service contracts, standardization of high cost implants, and improved inventory management. Additional focus on further improving the supply chain is also underway.

Chief Nursing Officer, Ann Williamson, and Kates will provide an update on the Hospital’s plan for managing length of stay through a combination of tactics. Included in the presentation will be discussion of:

Planning for adding 40 inpatient beds in several areas, including Behavioral Health, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and Intensive and Specialty Services
Factors affecting timely discharge
Tactics to actively manage length of stay
Recommended tools/process improvements
Next steps in implementation

Associate Vice President for Information Systems Lee Carmen will update the Regents on the installation of the Hospital’s comprehensive clinical information system. While several applications have already been implemented, there are two important “go live” launches coming up. In February, Pharmacy, eMAR, and ICU flowsheets will go live. In May, a full electronic medical record system and electronic order entry will go live, improving quality of care and patient safety.

Katie Guckert, Executive Director, University of Iowa Dance Marathon 2009, and her student colleagues will provide the Board with an overview of this student-run philanthropy dedicated to supporting oncology patients being treated at University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Now in its 15th year at The University of Iowa, Dance Marathon has raised more than $6.5 million.

Looking Ahead

Jingle and Mingle at two holiday open houses sponsored for everyone working, volunteering, and studying at the Hospital and the College, Wednesday, December 17, from 2-5 p.m., in the East Room (Elevator F, Level 8, UI Hospitals and Clinics) AND in the Medical Education and Research Facility Atrium (Level 1 MERF). Please come and help kick off a new UI Health Care tradition, celebrate the holidays with your co-workers, enjoy refreshments, and be entertained by local music legend Patrick Hazell.

This is a publication of UI Health Care