Major Iowa health systems announce partnership - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Major Iowa health systems announce partnership

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Four of Iowa's major health systems are launching a regional alliance to help improve patient care.

The partnership is called the University of Iowa Health Alliance.  It includes the Mercy Health Network, Mercy Cedar Rapids, University of Iowa Health Care, and Genesis Health System out of the Quad Cities.

In all, it will bring together more than 50 hospitals and 160 clinics spanning the state.

Chuck Dahlgaard of Waterloo is on the road to recovery, being seen Thursday in the Otolaryngology clinic at the University of Iowa for a follow-up after surgery.

 "The reason I came here is for squamous cell carcinoma in my ear and on my nose," he said.

Given his recent health challenges, Dahlgaard understands the importance of having access to health care.

"If I didn't have my medicare under Universal Health, I wouldn't be here.  I'd be dead, because of this cancer," Dahlgaard said.

Health leaders in the state of Iowa are recognizing the problems with the current system.  Calling for a more patient- centered model of preventive services and improved coordinated care.

"With or without the Accountable Health Act, we will have made the same decision.  The issue of cost, the issue of access, the issue of quality and issue of safety remain and need to be resolved," said Jean Robillard, MD, UI vice president for medical affairs.

It's the reason why four of Iowa's largest health systems are coming together to form the University of Iowa Health Alliance.

The partnership includes affiliates across the state, and strives to increase the value of services provided.

"We're hearing the message loud and clear that it's incumbent on those who provide these services to find new models, develop new models, and to deliver those new models to the state," said Tim Charles, Cedar Rapids Mercy president and CEO.

The different institutions will work together to share infrastructure costs, research, and develop better educational programs... Those cost savings, and improved health care practices will ultimately be passed on to the patients like Dahlgaard.

"Our patients now have the opportunities to receive very sophisticated care at home, but we also now have access to a committed partner where we'll be looking at how we improve the intersections of care," Charles said.

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