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VPMA Voice

I’m sure you’ve seen the exciting news that this past weekend’s Dance Marathon to support UI Children’s Hospital was attended by 1,320 dancers, more than 800 patients and family members, and raised more than $1 million! As you may know, Dance Marathon creates and sustains special projects to provide emotional and financial support for pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplant patients and their families treated at UI Children’s Hospital. The annual student-run event received a fantastic boost to its kick-off when Governor Chet Culver paid a visit to the hospital last Friday to meet with the student leaders of Dance Marathon, as well as some families who have entrusted their children’s cancer care to us.

I, along with other UI Health Care senior leaders, also had the pleasure of attending Dance Marathon on Saturday afternoon, and I can tell you that it was a joy and a wonder to witness first-hand the miracle that UI students and other supporters create through this remarkable charitable event. I know that many of our faculty and staff were involved in supporting this important cause, and I thank you for your generous involvement.

Speaking of care for kids, I hope you plan to attend one of this week’s UI Health Care Update Forums on Wednesday at noon and 5:30 p.m. in the East Room. Among other topics, we’ll provide an update on plans for the new children’s hospital.

Please continue to e-mail me any time with comments and suggestions.

Signed, Jean Robillard

Economy affecting academic medical centers,
including UI Health Care

Expense reduction and revenue enhancement are critically important as UI Health Care, like other academic medical centers, attempts to weather the current financial crisis.

The Association of American Medical Colleges and the University HealthSystem Consortium are monitoring the effect of the economy on the financial health of academic health centers. Data obtained in December 2008 from 30 academic medical centers (AMCs) indicated a 25 percent mean operating margin decline from 2007 to 2008, with an increase in both charity care and overall patient volumes. While volumes are up, AMCs are experiencing lower-than-budgeted growth, which is affecting operating margins. In addition, more than 90 percent of the academic medical centers surveyed are canceling or deferring capital projects and reducing capital budgets. Selective hiring freezes are almost universal, and a number of AMCs are reducing staff.

The financial crisis is affecting health care in three ways: First, through decline in elective surgery as well as screening procedures such as colonoscopies; second, via an increase in the number of patients whose economic situations have worsened to the point they can no longer meet medical co-pays or deductibles. At UI Hospitals and Clinics, we have already noted an 8.5 percent growth in Medicaid eligible patients from July 2008 to December 2008 compared to 3.2 percent for the same period in 2007. Finally, beyond current contract periods, the ability to receive improved levels of reimbursement from commercial insurers will be less certain.

Please join UI Health Care leaders at two forums on Wednesday, February 11, as they provide updates on our financial situation, including:

Expense reduction suggestions sent into the VPMA mailbox

Progress on expense reduction efforts

Facilities replacement and renovation

They will also discuss the February 7–9 “go-live” of three Epic modules in inpatient pharmacies and nursing units, and showcase clinical quality and service excellence in the Medical Intensive Care Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

There will be two forums, at noon and 5:30 p.m. in the East Room, Elevator F, Level 8, UI Hospitals and Clinics. Refreshments will be served.

The noon forum will be webcast live for UI Health Care domain users at. To log in, use "healthcare\your-hawkid" and your password.

Transfer Center opens

UI Hospitals and Clinics opened the Transfer Center Monday, February 2, to expedite appropriate patient transfers and better manage availability of our tertiary beds and services. The Transfer Center office is located within the Emergency Treatment Center (1076A RCP). Calls are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During the week (Monday through Friday), calls are answered in the Transfer Center. On weekends, calls are triaged by the Admission and Bed Placement Center.

More information about the Transfer Center can be found on its Web site .

Looking Ahead

Biochemistry candidate lecture postponed

Due to a family illness, the lecture by Katherine L. Wilson, PhD, professor of cell biology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, scheduled for 8:30 a.m., Feb. 10, in 2117 Medical Education Research Facilities (MERF) is postponted. Dr. Wilson is a candidate for head of Biochemistry.

UI Children’s Hospital ranking celebration

Parents magazine recently named UI Children’s Hospital as one of the Best Children’s Hospitals in the country, and the Emergency Treatment Center at UI Hospitals and Clinics was rated fifth in the nation for pediatric care. All staff, faculty, students, volunteers, patients, visitors, and guests are invited to celebrate this national recognition Wednesday, February 11, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., John Pappajohn Atrium, Elevator I, Level 1. There will be brief remarks at 11:15 a.m.

Welcome reception

Please welcome Associate Vice President for Human Resources Chad Simmons at a reception Friday, February 13, at 3:30 p.m. in the East Room, Elevator F, Level 8, UI Hospitals and Clinics. There will be brief remarks at 4 p.m.

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