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IOWA CITY - The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics saw its highest daily patient volumes in modern history in December, reaching 692 patients one day. That topped the previous high of 652 recorded four years ago and neared the hospital's capacity of 713 beds.
Patient census totals reached the 680s on multiple days in December, according to Ken Fisher, associate vice president for finance for UI Health Care.
'We were virtually full in almost all areas of the organization,” Fisher told the Board of Regents during its meeting Thursday. 'It was a challenge some days to make sure we had beds to take care of every patient.”
On many days, he said, the hospital had 100-plus more patients in house than it did a year ago. According to a volume report for the current budget year, the hospital recorded 101,419 patient days through December, compared with 99,243 through the same period last year.
Pediatric patient totals saw among the highest increases, with 1,855 pediatric medical and surgical discharges through December compared with 1,588 last year - a 16.8 percent increase. Pediatric critical care discharges increased 6 percent, according to the report, and pediatric psychiatric discharges increased 21.5 percent on the year.
Officials didn't identify a single cause for the high census, and Fisher said the hospital didn't see too many cases of influenza, which has been particularly bad this year nationally with the vaccine less effective than in some years.
Total UIHC revenue through December reached $639.6 million - a 9 percent increase over the $586.6 million through the same period last year.
Heart Center acquisition
UIHC is moving ahead with plans to acquire Iowa City Heart Center P.C. and its assets for $1.17 million after receiving Board of Regents approval Thursday.
The community-based cardiology practice at 540 East Jefferson St. - in the Mercy Medical Plaza in Iowa City - has been operating since 1987. The purchase agreement will transfer to UIHC all its equipment, medical records, physician workforce, non-physician workforce, inventory, furniture, and other business assets.
Jean E. Robillard, vice president for UI medical affairs, told the Board of Regents during its meeting Thursday that the acquisition will involve about 10 employees, and board documents report the acquisition will result in academic appointments for four cardiologists.
'The employment of four cardiologists will provide the opportunity for enhancement of clinical, research, and educational experiences for faculty, fellows, residents, students, and patients at UIHC and the University of Iowa,” according to board documents.
No real estate or buildings are included in the transaction. The heart center is housed in the medical plaza under lease with Mercy Iowa City, and UIHC officials said the goal is to continue operations at this location.
'We want seamless care with this,” Robillard said.
The university also is exploring moving part of the heart center operations to its Iowa River Landing location in Coralville. If continuing operations in the Mercy Medical Plaza isn't an option, the acquired assets will be incorporated into existing cardiology operations at Iowa River Landing, according to board documents.
'It is not anticipated that additional facilities will be required to support cardiology operations as a result of this acquisition,” the documents report.
The heart center, according to its website, has served patients through 30,000 annual visits in six clinics through Eastern Iowa. In addition to Iowa City, the center regularly provides services in Washington, Mount Pleasant, Fairfield, Fort Madison, and Dubuque.
'Iowa City Heart Center is a very well-respected cardiology group,” Robillard said. 'By combining our resources, we will be able to offer exceptional heart care to even more people.”
The Board of Regents on Thursday also is considering a UIHC request to buy 1.09 acres of vacant land at 815 First Ave in Coralville, just south of the Iowa River Landing facility, from Drury Development Corporation for $1.5 million - or $31.59 per square foot.
The agreement would allow Drury to use the remaining portion of the property for a planned hotel. Acquiring property in the Iowa River Landing area near UIHC's new ambulatory care clinic and already purchased land is 'important to UIHC as master planning for the area moves forward.”
David Kieft, university business manager, said the purchase does not involve a future building at this time, and no other agreements are in place. But, he said, 'This land is important to future land development.”