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VPMA Voice

This past week has been one of the more challenging weeks since I came to The University of Iowa more than 20 years ago. Due to the overall economic conditions, and despite many concerted efforts to stem the negative expenses situation, we were unable to hold off from having to eliminate filled positions. Having to take away someone’s job and livelihood is one of the hardest things anyone has to do as a leader.

One of the guiding principles as we implemented these organizational changes was the need to move more positions to direct patient care. This means re-configuring our skill mix and adjusting the number of patient care professionals in each area to match our care and service goals.

Clearly, we will do everything possible to help our employees find a “soft landing” with respect to job re-training, outplacement services, and other types of support. It is important to remember that those who have lost their jobs did nothing wrong. Please help support your colleagues and one another as we navigate our way through this difficult period.

The first informal meeting with employees last Friday was very helpful. We got to hear firsthand a number of concerns and questions. As a result, there is clearly opportunity to address some policy changes that will make it easier for employees to be retrained or reassigned. If we can help fill needed vacant positions with people whose positions are being eliminated, that is a real “win-win” for everyone.

I am thankful that we have such good people who are committed to our mission of excellence in patient care, quality, and safety. We are continuing to win national recognition for our efforts in many areas. Just this week, we learned that the pediatric nephrology division of UI Children’s Hospital was ranked by U.S.News & World Report, and that the American Heart Association has certified our heart care program as a “Gold” level performer. (See News below) Keep up the great work!


Signed, Jean Robillard

UI President hears College accomplishments

As part of her annual visits with The University of Iowa’s 11 colleges, UI President Sally Mason came to the UI Carver College of Medicine on June 18. That morning she heard presentations from researchers in physiology, microbiology, and obstetrics and gynecology.

Education programs featured were the Physician Assistant Program, the Physical Therapy Program, and the FUTURE in Biomedicine Program. Final presentations featured clinical advances in pediatrics and transplantation. Following the morning sessions, President Mason met with faculty, staff, and students in an open forum.

UI Heart and Vascular Center gets the gold

The UI Heart and Vascular Center has received the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines–Coronary Artery Disease Gold Performance Achievement Award.

The award recognizes the Center’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of cardiac care that improves the treatment of patients hospitalized with coronary disease and reduces their risk of recurrent heart attacks or death.

Hospitals receiving the award must have demonstrated for two years that at least 85 percent of eligible coronary patients are discharged following the American Heart Association’s guidelines.


UI Children’s Hospital program ranked by U.S.News & World Report

University of Iowa Children’s Hospital has been ranked 25th in the nation for the specialty area of kidney disorders by U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 edition of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.”

Patrick Brophy, MD, directs the Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation at UI Children’s Hospital. Full ranking information will be published online and featured in the August issue of U.S.News & World Report, available on newsstands starting July 21.

The 2009 “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” is the most extensive listing of its kind and rates the nation’s top 30 hospitals in general pediatrics and six pediatric specialties. Earlier this year, UI Children’s Hospital also was ranked 20th in the nation by Parents magazine.

Forums generate questions

At last week’s forums, UI Health Care leaders responded to questions from staff members about the reduction in workforce planned for UI Hospitals and Clinics and some UI Carver College of Medicine staff serving in clinical capacities. Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions and responses. More information about the FY 2010 budget, expense reductions, and workforce reductions, is available on The Point.

Q. What is the difference between furlough and layoff?
A. In our discussions, we have used the term temporary furlough to mean a temporary period of time that a staff member would not be at work and not be paid. The terms layoff and permanent furlough have been used to indicate the permanent elimination of a position.

Q. How will UI Hospitals and Clinics achieve the additional 2 percent reduction in labor expenses?
A. Leaders are still considering several options. More information will be available in July.

Q. What happens if I participated in the voluntary programs and I get laid off?
A. Management will be reviewing all voluntary program contributions and will not accept any voluntary contributions from people who will be laid off. Both the layoffs and the voluntary programs are scheduled to begin on July 1, 2009.

Q. If I have been notified that my position has been eliminated, can I still apply to participate in the Early Retirement Incentive Program?
A. Yes, you will still be eligible to apply for participation. Eligible staff can begin applying for the program on July 1, 2009.

Looking ahead

UI Carver College of Medicine faculty, staff, and students are invited to Donuts with the Deans, Tuesday, June 23, from 9 to 10 a.m. in the MERF East Commons. Rain location: MERF Atrium.

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