Blog - MedQ

Cedar Rapids Healthcare Providers Recommend Celebrating Holidays With Immediate Household Only

The MedQuarter | November 19th, 2020

Mercy Medical Center and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital are encouraging Eastern Iowans to rethink plans for traditional Thanksgiving gatherings. Hospital officials say the safest way to spend the holiday is to celebrate only with individuals in the immediate household.  This echoes similar guidance shared Monday evening by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is prompting hospital officials to share this unified message. Both hospitals are caring for record numbers of COVID-19 patients and the number of cases is expected to increase in the coming days and weeks.

“Limiting holiday gathering this year to immediate family will help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Dustin Arnold, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital chief medical officer. “It is another significant sacrifice to ask people to make; however, one that will ultimately save lives.”

“In addition to keeping community members safe over the holidays, our focus is also on keeping our workforce healthy,” said Dr. Tony Myers, vice president of quality, risk and medical affairs at Mercy Medical Center. “We are in a situation where we absolutely need our healthcare workers to be able to care for patients.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to be as safe as possible over the holidays.”

An additional measure individuals can take to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is to limit trips outside of the home whenever possible. If people do venture out, they are encouraged to put these public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into practice:

  • Wear a mask and keep your nose and mouth covered in public settings.
  • Stay at least six feet apart (about two arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Families looking for alternative ways to safely celebrate the holidays can consider using Zoom, FaceTime or other video platforms, to connect with family and friends virtually.

Two Corridor Hospitals Listed in Top Cardiovascular Report

The MedQuarter | November 19th, 2020

Two Corridor hospitals have been listed among the Watson Health Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals in a new report by Fortune/IBM Watson Health. The list of 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals is divided into three groups: cardiovascular teaching hospitals, teaching hospitals and community hospitals.Mercy Iowa City was named one of the top cardiovascular community hospitals in the new report, while Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids was named among the top cardiovascular teaching hospitals.

The annual study highlights leaders in short-term, acute care hospitals that treat cardiology patients. It compares nearly 1,000 U.S. hospitals with cardiovascular service lines and shows “the winners delivered better outcomes while operating more efficiently and at a lower cost.”

“We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition and showcase our commitment to quality care and the highest patient experience,” said Jim Nielsen, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon and chief medical information officer at Mercy Iowa City.

Leadership with IBM Watson Health explained with more than 120 million American adults living with some form of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular services are among the most critical in healthcare.

“Hospitals are constantly working to improve clinical and operational performance, and the exceptional organizations on this list demonstrate the standard for top performing cardiac care,” said Ekta Punwani,100 Top Hospitals program lead for IBM Watson Health. “Their benchmarks serve as a real-world checkpoint for cardiovascular care across the U.S.”

See the full list of hospitals here.

Mitzi Elbert Brings Back Moose McDuffy’s

The MedQuarter | November 16th, 2020

Meet Mitzi Elbert, bar rescuer.

The owner of Moose McDuffy’s restaurant and bar in the MedQuarter Regional Medical District can be found there most days — often working 15-16 hours a day to ensure her business succeeds.

“It’s my own little bar rescue,” she says with a warm laugh.

Mitzi and her husband, Larry, owned this place in the past. They also own and turned around another establishment across town. So when this place fell on hard times during the pandemic and went up for sale, they bought it back.

Larry passed away in September, though. “Now I’m doing it by myself,” she says. Getting Moose McDuffy’s on its feet provides Mitzi with a welcome focus for her energy.

“I’ve cleaned it up and put in new kitchen equipment. I’m still working on the staff,” Mitzi says. “Food safety and customer service are what I’m catering toward.”

On the menu is an assortment of pub food: burgers, sandwiches, salads and apps, plus daily specials. Taco Tuesdays are very popular with customers, Mitzi says.

Because the pandemic is keeping many people at home, though, Moose McDuffy’s offers takeout, curbside pickup and DoorDash delivery. This new normal doesn’t bother Mitzi.

“I actually think it’s a good thing, and I hope it stays. My mom had a heart valve replacement. Dad has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. These services are very good for people like them who can’t get out much,” she says.

So safety is job No. 1 now and for the foreseeable future. “I don’t want anyone to miss out on any experiences,” Mitzi says.

Great Location in the MedQuarter

Moose McDuffy’s location on First Avenue NE in the MedQ couldn’t be better, Mitzi says. “It’s centrally located and within walking distance of just about everything.”

That means the restaurant — one of eight in the MedQuarter — serves a good variety of people. Customers include clinical staff and employees from the MedQ, Coe College students and Quaker employees. In fact, Mitzi is extending kitchen hours to 1 a.m. to better serve the late-night crowd, including late-shift workers.

As a business owner, she appreciates the district’s welcoming vibe and sense of community — “They are some of the most wonderful people here, so helpful” — and applauds the updates the MedQ has recently made to spruce up things along First Avenue.

She invites Cedar Rapidians and patient families to check it out.

“Give Moose McDuffy’s a try,” Mitzi says. “We’re very customer service-oriented. We’re very safety-oriented.”

Moose McDuffy’s

834 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily


Facebook: @moosemcduffys

PCI – November is Bladder Health Month

The MedQuarter | November 5th, 2020

November 1 – 30: Bladder Health Awareness Month

The intent of Bladder Health Awareness Month is to thank doctors, researchers, Congressionals and others who support bladder health research, promote bladder health awareness and care for those with bladder health conditions.

November 1 – 7: Urology Nurses and Associates Week

Urology nurses care for patients across the lifespan, providing guidance and treatment for a variety of urologic diseases and concerns. They work in all health care settings and specialize in such areas as continence care, male/female sexual dysfunction, infertility, oncology, surgery, cystoscopy, and urodynamics.To recognize how valuable urologic nurses and associates are to the health care system and to their patients, the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA) has established Urology Nurses and Associates Week.

Mercy Cedar Rapids Celebrates 120th Anniversary

The MedQuarter | November 5th, 2020

CEDAR RAPDIS, IA (Nov. 5, 2020) – Mercy Cedar Rapids is celebrating a milestone this month – 120 years of serving the healthcare needs of eastern Iowans. From the beginning, the Sisters of Mercy took a vow “to care for the poor, the sick and the uneducated.” With that vow as their focus, the Sisters fulfilled a much-needed demand in Cedar Rapids by building a hospital. On November 14, 1900, the Sisters established Mercy Hospital in a small house with 15 beds on 3rd Ave. and 6th St. SE. Later, the Sisters were able to build a 100-bed hospital, which is where Mercy is located today.

“As we observe our 120th anniversary, Mercy is celebrating its continued commitment to the sacred healthcare ministry to which we’ve been called,” said Sr. Susan O’Connor, Mercy’s vice president of mission integration. “I think the founding Sisters would be exceptionally proud of how far we’ve come and the work we’ve accomplished to serve the needs of our community. From very humble beginnings, Mercy has evolved into a leading healthcare organization, providing patients access to compassionate, high-quality healthcare in a wide variety of specialties and utilizing the very latest technology. It’s a legacy we can certainly be proud of.”

Throughout the week of Nov. 9 to 13, Mercy staff will be marking the 120-year milestone with special internal observances, a commissioning of new Mercy leaders, and a community service project.

The Mercy Foundation is also inviting the public to invest in the legacy of Mercy and local quality healthcare by taking part in its annual Giving Day Challenge on Thurs., Nov. 12.  Donations made on that day will support the Mercy Employee Relief Fund, benefitting Mercy employees affected by the events of this year, such as COVID-19 and the derecho. The Foundation’s goal is to raise $12,000 in 24 hours. Donations can be made at or by calling (319) 398-6206.

Don’t Put Your Health on Hold

The MedQuarter | November 3rd, 2020

COVID-19 has disrupted lives in countless ways, but your health doesn’t have to be one of them. The health care providers in the MedQuarter Regional Medical District encourage you to seek care if you feel ill or are hurt.

The MedQuarter’s medical community is taking extra precautions to protect our patients and staff, including required masks, disinfection procedures and expanding medical services to virtual visits. We are here and ready to safely care for you.

Recent media reports have highlighted the problems with delaying health care. Putting off a health screening, for example, can mean disease reaches an advanced stage before it’s caught. Not seeking care at the first signs of a stroke or heart attack can be deadly.

So, please, take care of your health. It’s safe and it’s important to get the care you need.

Should I Get a Flu Shot?

Yes! This year it’s especially important because of the double risk. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says it’s likely both the flu and COVID-19 will be circulating this fall and winter. Protect yourself and your family with a flu shot.

The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone 6 months and older who can have it. Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure what’s right for you or your family member. In addition, your insurance plan may help with the cost.

It’s not too late. Flu vaccinations continue through January or even later, as long as the flu virus is spreading.

The Mask of Wellness Initiative

The MedQuarter is committed to the safety of our community. That’s why we are participating in the Mask of Wellness initiative.

The national program originated in Iowa City and promotes a strategic, safe approach to doing business in a pandemic world. The “COVID-conscious” guidelines call for:

  1. Masks worn in all areas of the work environment.
  2. Good hygiene for hands and surfaces.
  3. Signs of illness are recognized and screened for.

The MedQ encourages the district’s businesses to join the movement. Our goal is an 80% participation rate and the nation’s first COVID-conscious district designation.

Learn more and see the list of Mask of Wellness businesses in the MedQ.

Mercy Cedar Rapids earns 2020 Most Wired recognition once again

The MedQuarter | October 12th, 2020

CEDAR RAPDIS, IA (Oct. 12, 2020) – Mercy Medical Center has, once again, been named one of healthcare’s Most Wired hospitals, according to the results of the 2020 College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Digital Health Most Wired® Survey. This is the 13th time since 2006 that Mercy has received the Most Wired recognition.

Mercy achieved a level nine award (with level 10 being the highest), receiving the Performance Excellence Award. Notably, Mercy ranked highest among all Iowa hospitals. It was also recognized in the 98th percentile for clinical quality and safety and in the 96th percentile for patient engagement. Mercy is one of only 71 healthcare organizations nationally and internationally to achieve a level nine status.

The CHIME Digital Health Most Wired program conducts an annual survey to assess how effectively healthcare organizations apply core and advanced technologies into their clinical and business programs to improve health and care in their communities.

“Digital technology has been a driver of innovation in healthcare for many years now, but never to the degree that we saw in 2020 with the pandemic,” said CHIME President and CEO, Russell P. Branzell. “The Digital Health Most Wired program underscores why healthcare organizations keep pushing themselves to be digital leaders and shows what amazing feats they can achieve. This certification recognizes their exemplary performance in 2020.”

“Mercy is pleased to be named again this year as a Most Wired organization, and proud of our IT team for this recognition of their ability to deliver the high-performing technology solutions utilized by our clinicians and patients,” said Jeff Cash, senior vice president and Mercy’s chief information officer. “We’ve experienced a continued increase in demand for the use of technology to support patient care activities such as telemedicine, predictive analytics, mobile care solutions and clinical data sharing over the past few years. We feel fortunate that our investments in these technologies are improving patient care, quality and access to patient data.”

A total of 30,135 organizations were represented in the 2020 Digital Health Most Wired program. The surveys assessed the adoption, integration and influence of technologies in healthcare organizations at all stages of development, from early development to industry leading.

For more information about the CHIME Digital Health Most Wired program, please go here.

Mercy lights campus pink to mark breast cancer awareness month

The MedQuarter | October 2nd, 2020

Pink lights will illuminate the Mercy Medical Center campus beginning the evening of Oct. 1 as the hospital begins its observance of breast cancer awareness month.

The pink lights will shine at both Mercy Medical Center and Hall-Perrine Cancer Center throughout the month of October, serving as a reminder to the women in our community to get screened for breast cancer.

Breast cancer is most treatable and curable when detected in its earliest stages. Even so, according to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer claims more than 40,000 lives each year. But, this number can be reduced with early detection through clinical breast exam and mammography.

Alliant Energy traditionally joins Mercy in early October for the annual Power of Pink event to kick off breast cancer awareness month. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Power of Pink event will not be held this year, but Alliant still plans to light its downtown tower in pink for this special observance month.

Mercy Foundation receives gift for establishment of HallMar Village Innovation Center for Aging & Dementia

The MedQuarter | October 2nd, 2020

The Mercy Medical Center Foundation is pleased to announce a $2 million lead gift from the Chris and Suzy DeWolf family of Cedar Rapids for the creation and formation of the Chris and Suzy DeWolf Family Innovation Center for Aging & Dementia.

The DeWolf Family Innovation Center will be located in northeast Cedar Rapids as part of HallMar Village, an advanced, integrated senior living community that is being developed by Mercy in partnership with Presbyterian Homes & Services.

The DeWolfs said they were compelled to support the Innovation Center because of its potential to transform the lives of individuals living with dementia. The Innovation Center will be a hub of research, training and education, where best practices in aging and dementia are discovered, tested and evaluated to help those living with chronic conditions, including dementia, live their lives with purpose.

“We see this gift as an extension of our responsibility to the Cedar Rapids community,” said Chris DeWolf, president and CEO of Lil’ Drug Store Products, Inc. and chairman of Mercy Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. “We believe the Innovation Center for Aging & Dementia has the potential to change the trajectory of dementia research and, thus, the way people with dementia live, and that’s something we’re pleased to support and nurture. We want to be part of the contemporary solution in addressing this growing public health crisis.”

“Our family was blessed to be part of the fundraising, design and construction of the Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in 2007, which honored my parents and is a lasting legacy to their foresight and generosity,” said Suzy DeWolf. “We have witnessed the influence that the Hospice House has had on so many people’s lives over the years, and we are hopeful that the Innovation Center for Aging & Dementia will have an equally transformative effect.”

The Chris and Suzy DeWolf Family Innovation Center for Aging & Dementia at HallMar Village will house valuable services to support people living with dementia, care partners and families, including:

  • Mercy’s Memory Clinic – a source of medical evaluation and assessment for people seeking to determine whether their changing memory is a normal part of aging or a form of dementia – which is currently housed at Mercy Medical Center
  • A geriatric medical clinic for drop-in, same-day acute visits, as well as multi-specialty services, including counseling and telehealth
  • An extension of the Family Caregivers Center of Mercy that will offer individual caregiver visits, support groups, educational events, art, music and chair yoga
  • An adult day center tailored for early-stage dementia and inclusiveness for all
  • The Research & Training Institute, which will offer training to staff, family care partners and other care centers in the community
  • A living classroom in which students will learn from staff, residents and care partners, as well as instructors, to become personal support workers using HallMar Village as a training site

Construction of HallMar Village is anticipated to begin in spring 2021. Because the Innovation Center will be located within an existing building, Mercy expects it to be open and operational by late fall 2021.

Gems of Hope Welcomes Sarah McCaffrey as Executive Director

The MedQuarter | October 1st, 2020

Sarah McCaffrey was recently announced Executive Director at Gems of Hope. McCaffrey holds a masters degree in organizational leadership and a bachelor of applied studies emphasizing both leadership and non-profit management. She has extensive background in nonprofit work. On the position, McCaffrey says, “I am so happy to be part of Gems and to bring hope to cancer patients and their families.” Outside of Gems of Hope, McCaffrey enjoys spending time with her family, kickboxing, playing soccer in the local adult league and traveling.

The MedQuarter is keeping up-to-date on information and resources regarding the pandemic.
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