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Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and quality time spent with families and friends. As we ring in 2009, I look forward with great optimism to what the New Year has in store for University of Iowa Health Care. We will soon be sharing more about our integrated strategic planning efforts, which will establish our unified mission, vision, values, and goals for the organization. I am eager to work with each and every one of you as we redouble our efforts to make our enterprise the best it can be.

Toward that end, I am also pleased that Chad Simmons will join our team January 15 as UI Health Care’s associate vice president for human resources. (For more about Chad’s background, see the story on the back or visit The Point.) In this role, Chad will lead the integration of the human resource functions for all components of UI Health Care, including the UI Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics. Our talented workforce is our greatest asset, and I am confident that Chad’s expertise will ensure that we have a successful human resources strategy for recruiting and retaining world-class people to advance UI Health Care’s important patient care, education, and research missions.

As we get ready for the year ahead, please continue to e-mail me at vpma@uiowa.edu with comments and suggestions any time.

Signed, Jean Robillard

UI Children’s Hospital ranked by Parents magazine

University of Iowa Children’s Hospital is ranked 20th among the nation’s children’s hospitals by Parents magazine in its February 2009 issue. In addition, Parents rates the care provided to pediatric patients and their families in UI Hospitals and Clinics’ Emergency Treatment Center as 5th in the nation.

Congratulations to all of the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff of UI Children’s Hospital and the UI Department of Emergency Medicine for receiving this national recognition of their skill and compassion. It’s clearly well-deserved and a confirmation of the high quality care that our patients and families receive here every day.

Expense reduction still a focus

As we enter the new year, everyone is encouraged to continue their focus on reducing operating expenses. UI Health Care managers, department heads, and senior leaders will be asking for your continued assistance as they announce and implement expense reductions. Every department and operating unit in UI Health Care is involved in this vital effort.

Several reduction measures are already under way, and others will be announced and phased in over the coming weeks. Please remember to continue sending your suggestions for ways to reduce expenses and improve performance to vpma@uiowa.edu.

[story continued below]

Expense reduction measures–continued

Suggestion: Stretch the refresh cycle for computers to more than three years.

Response: Health Care Information Systems currently refreshes computers at intervals beyond three years. Computers purchased through departmental or research funds are refreshed based upon the needs of the user. We are presently using older, refurbished computers for Epic training.

Suggestion: Learn from Epic installs elsewhere to avoid mistakes.

Response: Health Care Information Systems routinely talks with other Epic users about installation issues. We also participate in routinely scheduled users’ group meetings. Much of our training and project planning was assisted by input from other customers who are already “live” on the system.

Associate Vice President for Human Resources begins January 15

Chad Simmons joins UI Health Care on Thursday, January 15, to lead the full integration of the human resources functions within UI Health Care. A graduate of Morehouse College, Chad also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Iowa. His background and experience make him well-suited to help us harness the strength of our talented workforce to achieve our true potential as a world class health care organization engaged in the missions of patient care, education, and research.

There will be a welcome reception for Chad on Monday, February 2, beginning at 3:30 p.m. (remarks at 4 p.m.), in the East Room, Elevator F, Level 8, UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Looking ahead

Internal Medicine head candidate, Richard S. Blumberg, MD, will deliver a special seminar, “Academic Medicine and the Wisdom of Crowds” on Tuesday, January 6, from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Urmila Sahai Seminar Room, 2117 Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF), followed by a reception in the atrium. Dr. Blumberg is currently Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Louis Sullivan, MD, former Secretary of Health and Human Services and founding dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, will be the distinguished speaker during the 2009 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Week. His talk will be at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 21, in the Prem Sahai Auditorium, Level 1, 1110A MERF.

UI Health Care leaders will discuss items on the agenda of the upcoming Board of Regents meeting at an open forum on Thursday, January 29, from noon to 1 p.m. in the East Room, Elevator F, Level 8, UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Correcting a misconception

A staff member recently sent this note to the VPMA mailbox … “I read in the paper
UI Hospitals and Clinics was thinking about buying the Athletic Club for $6.5 million dollars instead of leasing it as we do now. How about dropping it completely? That would save us money and not affect patient care…”

It is not true that UI Hospitals and Clinics is considering buying or leasing the Athletic Club.

What is true is that, in December, the Board of Regents approved a University of Iowa request for a 20-year lease of the Athletic Club. At the end of that period, the University (not UI Hospitals and Clinics) will own the building.

This is a publication of UI Health Care