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Aaron Scheinblum, Communication Strategist
319-358-2627 or e-mail: aaron.scheinblum@mercyic.org

Friday, February 12, 2021 - Mercy Iowa City: 'Proposed $230 million state hospital unnecessary'

An additional government-owned hospital in Johnson County is unnecessary, a waste of state resources and could harm 11 other regional hospitals, according to Mercy Iowa City Board Chairman, Tom McLaughlin. The University of Iowa Health Care system, a state entity, has submitted a proposal for the $230 million hospital.

“This region is already well-served with 11 hospitals which have capacity to serve more patients in the Iowa City area,” says Sean Williams, President and CEO, Mercy Iowa City, an affiliate of MercyOne. The University of Iowa has hospitals just eight miles south of North Liberty.

The region is saturated with duplicative services, and this public hospital will unnecessarily compete with community hospitals,” said McLaughlin. As the States hospital, University of Iowa Health Care should collaborate, not compete, with local hospitals. The public sector should not be competing with private enterprise, let alone at the price tag of $230 million in the middle of a pandemic.” 

University of Iowa Health Care is Iowa's only comprehensive academic medical center which provides highly-specialized adult and childrens tertiary care. They should focus on medical advancements, not expanding their footprint in community health care,” added McLaughlin.

Across health care, we are all experiencing the financial impacts of COVID-19 on our hospitals, clinics and staff,” says Williams. We should be focused on how we can partner to serve the needs of Iowans, not fighting the State for the survival of our 150-year-old Catholic community hospital.”

The University of Iowa Children’s Hospital was the University’s last hospital project. It was planned as a $285 million expenditure but was over budget by more than $100 million. “The University’s track record with large taxpayer-backed projects is concerning,” says Williams. “In addition to the Children’s hospital over-expenditure, it’s difficult to understand why UIHC would seek to build a $230 million hospital while it is operating with a $100 million deficit due to COVID-19, and while it simultaneously seeks to reduce and furlough staff and accept CARES funding.” 

Mercy Iowa City formally submitted a letter of opposition to the Certificate of Need Program in January and will request the State Health Facilities Council deny the University of Iowa’s application at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, February 17. 

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About Mercy Iowa City


Mercy Iowa City is an acute care hospital and regional referral center for southeast Iowa. Mercy has received: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) 5 Star Rating as a Top 2% of all hospitals for the 4th consecutive year, the only hospital in Iowa to do so; the Fortune IBM/Watson Health 100 Top Hospital ranking; the Fortune IBM/Watson Health 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital ranking; the accredited Chest Pain Center with the American Heart Association Gold Plus Achievement Award for Stroke Care; the Top 100 Community Hospitals Award in 2018 and 2019 from Becker
s Review; the Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for Mercys Emergency Care Unit by achieving 95 percent for patient experience for 13 consecutive years; and the Center of Distinction Award from Healogics for Mercys Wound and Vein Center. Mercy has 194 acute care beds, 25 private rooms for outpatient surgery, a 26-bed nursery with Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, 28 primary and specialty care clinics, a medical staff of 250 physicians representing all major medical specialties and most subspecialties, and 1,350 employees. It was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1873 and became an affiliate of MercyOne in 2017. To learn more visit www.mercyiowacity.org