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VPMA Voice

Much attention has been given to the uncertain financial situation but we should not let it eclipse our accomplishments. With that in mind, I am pleased to recognize two recent achievements made possible by UI Health Care faculty and staff. It is wonderful to see their good work receive recognition!

UI Physicians was recently ranked second out of 75 practice plans for billing effectiveness by the Association of American Medical Colleges’ University Health Care Consortium Faculty Practice Solutions Center. Only four years ago we ranked 53rd out of 60. This significant jump translates into faster, more accurate billing and quicker, more efficient payment for services. The Patient Financial Services team is to be commended for this tremendous achievement.

UI Hospitals and Clinics was named a Top Five performer in the University HealthSystem Consortium 2009 Supply Chain Performance Excellence Collaborative Study, which recognizes academic medical centers for excellence in supply chain management. All of those who had a hand in this effort deserve credit for this notable accomplishment.

UI Health Care is powered by such talented and committed individuals, and I want you to know how much I value each and every one of your contributions. Thank you!

Last week we welcomed Dr. Kim Leslie as head of Obstetrics and Gynecology and recognized Dr. Jennifer Niebyl as outgoing head. A highlight of the reception was the presentation of a beautiful plaque honoring Dr. Niebyl.

Signed, Jean Robillard

Expense reduction update forums

Everyone working, volunteering, or learning with UI Health Care is invited to expense reduction forums on Tuesday, April 7 at:

  • Noon - East Room (Elevator F, Level 8, UI Hospitals and Clinics)
  • 5:30 p.m. - Urmila Sahai Auditorium (2117 Medical Education Research Facility)
  • 11:30 p.m. - East Room

Additional expense reduction measures announced

Leaders, faculty, and staff of University of Iowa Health Care continue to evaluate every available option for reducing expenses without impacting the mission of excellent patient care, education, and research. Last week, several important new cost saving measures were announced and are summarized below.

Internal search process for UI Health Care positions

UI Health Care is now using an internal-only search process for specifically identified professional/Scientific positions within the organization. This means that applications for those positions will be accepted only from persons who are:
1) currently appointed in UI Health Care budgeted positions at 50 percent effort or greater; 2) furloughed UI employees; or 3) ADA priority referrals. Standard (external) searches will be considered if it is not feasible to realign staffing and meet affirmative action goals by using an internal search process. This process will be in effect for at least the next six months, at which time the program will be reviewed and may be extended if deemed successful.

Measures specific only to UI Hospitals and Clinics include:

Postponing the search process for two hospital administration positions–chief operating officer and executive director of UI Children’s Hospital. John Staley, interim chief operating officer, and Tim Gaillard, interim executive director of UI Children’s Hospital, will continue to provide leadership to these functions in addition to their other existing responsibilities. UI Health Care leaders will continue to evaluate management needs as the economy and the organization evolve.

Limiting the number of procurement cards (“P” cards) issued and the amounts that can be purchased on the cards: To assure that “P” cards are used only on a limited basis, and there are improved control over expenses, senior managers will determine how many “P” cards will be issued in departments or units, and limit most purchases made on the cards to less than $500.

Cell phones and internet access fees: The estimated cost associated with UI Hospitals and Clinics’ payment of phone and internet access fees is more than $75,000 a year. Effective April 1, 2009, payment for these services will no longer be made, and payment permissions will be revoked (turned off) in the workflow system. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis by senior managers.

Travel: All travel continues to be curtailed. Exceptions may be made for those who are already committed speakers or for those responsible for carrying out contractual agreements. The estimated savings from eliminating travel and conference fees amount to several hundred thousand dollars.

Purchase of computers and software: Effective immediately, all requests for purchase of computers, software, and other computer-related purchases, such as printers, scanners, other equipment, and supplies costing more than $100, must be sent to HCIS (Health Care Information Systems) for review. Only HCIS has the authority to purchase such equipment and software for UI Hospitals and Clinics.

April is Donate Life Month

In 2003, April was designated National Donate Life Month to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, tissue, and eye donors, and encourage more Americans to follow their example. Nearly 101,000 people still need organ transplants in the U.S., including more than 500 people in Iowa.

Because of the urgent need for more donors, UI Health Care faculty and staff, and all Iowans, are encouraged to join the Iowa Donor Registry (or call 1-877-366-6742). If you have questions, please contact in-house organ donation coordinators, Sue Witte or Rachel Asbury at 356-2207.

Stay in touch

Remember to continue sending your comments, suggestions, and questions to vpma@uiowa.edu.

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