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VPMA Voice

As many of you are aware, the local and national economic environment is having a major impact on the financial performance of UI Health Care. And, as we face the challenges of reducing our expenses, identifying opportunities to increase revenue, and operating more efficiently, it is very gratifying to me that we are working together as one organization.

In addition to the many cost-saving staff suggestions sent in to vpma@uiowa.edu,
UI Health Care leaders, department heads, and managers have been meeting to review programs, services, and all aspects of operations in the hospital and college to identify additional opportunities to reduce expenses without impacting direct patient care. We will be announcing those new opportunities as we finalize the plans.

Today we are announcing that we have reached the very difficult decision to eliminate the complimentary parking program for outpatient clinic and Ambulatory Surgery Center visits effective Monday, March 16. (See story below.)

We regret we are no longer able to offer this program to our patients, but the cost has increased significantly in recent years–currently about $1.2 million annually–and is diverting resources we can be using to ensure excellent quality of care, patient safety, and a positive patient experience.

We seek your understanding and support of this decision. We also ask for your continued assistance in assuring a positive aexperience for our patients, by helping them adjust to this change and ensuring that their clinic visits are as efficient as possible
to minimize their parking fees.

Signed, Jean Robillard

Complimentary parking program ending March 16

UI Health Care leaders are announcing today that the complimentary parking program at UI Hospitals and Clinics, for outpatient clinic visits and the Ambulatory Surgery Center, will be eliminated, effective Monday, March 16.

On March 16, clinic patients will be responsible for their own parking or valet fees. They will still need to bring their parking transaction ticket to clinics to obtain a sticker that will help ensure they receive the lower patient parking rate. Patients will be notified of this change in advance via patient appointment letters and/or telephone calls, notices at the entrances and exits of the parking ramps, at clinic and Ambulatory Surgery Center registration desks, and on the Web site.

Also prior to March 16, ambulatory care staff and UI Parking and Transportation staff will receive training on the process change and how to continue ensuring patients have positive experiences, including efficient clinic visits that minimize their parking fee.
For more information, see the questions and answers below.

Parking Change Questions and Answers

What is changing? Beginning Monday, March 16, UI Hospitals and Clinics will no longer pay parking fees for patients visiting clinics and the Ambulatory Surgery Center. Patients will be responsible for their own parking or valet fees.

Why is this changing? UI Health Care leaders have reached the very difficult decision that the program could no longer be sustained due to current economic conditions, the increasing cost of the complimentary parking program, and the need to reduce expenses.

How will patients be notified? Patients will be notified in advance via patient appointment letters and/or telephone calls, notices at the entrances and exits of the parking ramps, and at clinic and Ambulatory Surgery Center registration desks. In addition, information regarding parking for clinic visits will be updated on the Web site.

How will the process change for patients? Until March 16, patients will continue to bring their parking transaction ticket to their clinic appointments to have a sticker affixed to receive free parking. After March 16, patients will still need to bring their parking transaction ticket to have a sticker affixed, but instead of free parking, the sticker will help ensure they receive the lower patient parking rate.

Where are the stickers available? Stickers are provided in the clinics, usually in the check out process. Issuance of parking stickers will continue to be audited. It is considered fraudulent for employees without a clinic appointment to use them or give to others who do not have clinic appointments.

What are the parking rates? The patient (standard) rates are 75 cents for the first hour and 90 cents per hour after that, to a maximum 24-hour rate of $15.00.

Are there other rates? Yes, anyone entering the parking ramps between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday through Friday is subject to paying a graduated rate, which increases the parking fees to $2.55 an hour after the first three hours. To avoid paying the graduated rate, patients must bring their parking stub to their clinic appointment to receive a sticker ensuring they pay the patient (less expensive) rate.

Will valet parking still be available? Yes, valet parking is available at the Main Hospital entrance and the Pomerantz Family Pavilion entrance for a $10 fee. When was free parking for clinic patients at UI Hospitals and Clinics first offered? The complimentary parking program was initiated in 2002.

How much does the program cost? The current cost is about $100,000 a month or $1.2 million a year.

Why does it cost anything? Aren’t the ramps owned by UI Hospitals and Clinics? The University of Iowa owns the parking ramps, and as part of the complimentary parking program, UI Hospitals and Clinics reimburses UI Parking and Transportation for the parking fees incurred by clinic patients.

Looking Ahead

Regents meeting UI Health Care leaders are preparing for meetings with the Board of Regents on Wednesday, March 18, for strategic planning and to provide the UI Health Care Committee report.

Highlights of the committee report will be shared at the next UI Health Care Update Forum on Thursday, March 5, at noon in the East Room, UI Hospitals and Clinics, Elevator F, Level 8. Look for more details in e-mail announcements, the Noon News, and on The Point.

Speaking of Excellence lecture Steven A. Wartman, MD, PhD, President and CEO of the Association of Academic Health Centers, will provide the next Speaking of Excellence lecture at 12 Noon, Tuesday, March 10, in the East Room, UI Hospitals and Clinics, Elevator F, Level 8.
Speaking of Excellence is a lecture series sponsored by University of Iowa Health Care that invites outstanding leaders and innovators in health care, business, and policy to address current issues in modern health care.

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