UI Hospitals and Clinics to stop free patient parking program - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI Hospitals and Clinics to stop free patient parking program

IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- No more free parking for patients at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City.

Hospital officials announced Tuesday that because of increased financial pressures, the facility will stop its complimentary parking program for outpatients effective Monday, March 16, 2009.

"The present local and national economic environment, declining reimbursement, and increased expenses have all combined to significantly impact the finances of University of Iowa Health Care," officials announced in a news release.

"To counteract these forces, UI Hospitals and Clinics initiated an expense moderation program to better align expenses and revenues. Many programs and services, as well as all aspects of UI Hospitals and Clinics operations, are being reviewed for opportunities to reduce expenses without negatively impacting direct patient care," the news release stated.

UI Hospitals and CLinics stated that since the complimentary parking program for outpatient clinic visits and the Ambulatory Surgery Center went into effect in 2002, the cost of service has increased significantly to the current rate of about $1.2 million annually.

"We are very sorry that financial issues have forced us to take this step because we understand this change will have a direct impact upon our patients and visitors," said Ken Kates, associate vice president and CEO, UI Hospitals and Clinics. "We made the choice to direct our limited resources toward ensuring that we continue to provide high quality patient care."

Beginning March 16, clinic patients will be responsible for their own parking or valet fees. Patients are receiving advance notice of the change 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. Updated information regarding parking for clinic visits is also available online as www.uihealthcare.com.

Until March 16, patients can continue to bring their parking stub to their clinic appointments to have a sticker affixed so they receive free parking. After March 16, patients will still need to bring their parking stub to have a sticker affixed, but instead of free parking, the sticker will ensure that they are eligible for the lower patient parking rate.

Valet parking remains available at the Main Hospital entrance and the Pomerantz Family Pavilion entrance for a $10 fee.

Online Producer:  JJ Murray

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