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UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids COVID-19 Vaccine Update

The MedQuarter | February 26th, 2021

UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids is sharing its vaccine administration progress with the community.

To date, UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids has administered 13,307 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. These doses have been given to eligible individuals in Phases 1A & 1B, which is directed by Linn County Public Health (LCPH). These doses are being administered through St. Luke’s Employee Health, UnityPoint Clinics and UnityPoint Health Work Well Clinic. For the week of March 1, 2021, UnityPoint Health will be given 1,170 doses of the vaccine to distribute.

The hospital and Work Well are vaccinating health care workers, first responders, teachers and others identified as eligible by LCPH.

Every day, UnityPoint Clinic is sending invitations to eligible patients to schedule their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.  Text messaging with a self-scheduling link is used. If a patient does not have texting capabilities or the clinic doesn’t get a response from the patient, the clinic staff call eligible patients. The vaccine is available by appointment only and there is not a wait list.  We ask for your patience as vaccine supply determines how quickly we are able to vaccinate patients. You can check our progress by visiting this webpage, as it’s updated weekly.

Here is a closer look at UnityPoint Clinic information, which is currently contacting its patients ages 65 and older to schedule their COVID-19 vaccine.

  • 5,042     Number of patients vaccinated
  • 116%     of allotted doses used, which is possible by getting extra doses from vaccine vials
  • 19%       of its eligible patient population has been vaccinated through UnityPoint Clinics
  • 6,311     of UnityPoint Clinic patients have been invited to schedule a vaccination appointment
  • 78%       of invited, eligible UnityPoint Clinic patients invited have scheduled an appointment

UnityPoint Clinics in Cedar Rapids region – at a glance progress as of (2-25-21)

In the meantime, we encourage everyone, including those who have received the vaccine, to wear a face covering, social distance and wash your hands frequently in order to help reduce your risk of COVID-19.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Corizzo, UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids, (319) 369-8372 or (319) 560-2385.

Mercy’s Memory Clinic Adds Self-Scheduling Option

The MedQuarter | February 22nd, 2021

The Memory Clinic at Mercy Cedar Rapids now offers a self-scheduling program. This new option is designed for individuals who may be experiencing symptoms of dementia and would like to meet with Mercy’s team of experts for a patient evaluation. This service is available at Mercy’s main campus in downtown Cedar Rapids as well as its outreach clinic in Monticello.

Mercy’s Memory Clinic helps people – of any age – determine whether their concern is dementia or a normal part of aging. Mercy’s specialized team will assess the person’s abilities by interacting with them and their family member or friend.

A physician’s referral to the clinic is not required. Following the patient evaluation, a conference is held with the patient, family members, clinic team and other referral sources, as appropriate. The patient’s abilities are then reassessed, and assistance is provided to the family during follow-up visits.

Is It Dementia?

As people age, there is often worry when a name or a word can’t be recalled, or items are misplaced; people wonder if it is the beginning of dementia, which is an umbrella term for a variety of changing cognitive abilities. Symptoms of dementia may include:

  • Forgetting recently learned information
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty driving to a familiar location
  • Confusion about the time of day
  • Difficulty reading, judging distance, or determining color or contrast
  • Difficulty following or initiating a conversation
  • Placing items in odd places; accusing other of stealing or losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Frequently making poor decisions
  • Paying less attention to own physical appearance
  • No longer initiating activities once enjoyed
  • Rapid mood swings

To find out more about self-scheduling an appointment with Mercy’s Memory Clinic, visit https://www.mercycare.org/memorycare.

 

UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital Recognized for Excellence with Transcatheter Valve Certification

The MedQuarter | February 18th, 2021

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has recognized UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital for its demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients receiving transcatheter valve (TAVR) repair and replacement procedures.

St. Luke’s was awarded Transcatheter Valve Certification based on evaluation of the staff’s ability to meet standards for multidisciplinary teams, formalized training, shared decision-making and registry performance. The ACC’s Transcatheter Valve Certification is an external review and certification process that pairs with established national clinical databases to monitor patient safety and real-world outcomes related to transcatheter valve therapies. Participation in established national clinical databases such as the STS/ACC TVT Registry is required for hospitals interested in achieving Transcatheter Valve Certification.

“St. Luke’s has demonstrated its commitment to providing Cedar Rapids and Eastern Iowa with excellent heart care,” said Phillip D. Levy, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC Accreditation Management Board. “ACC Accreditation Services is proud to award St. Luke’s with Transcatheter Valve Certification.”

The certification uses established national clinical measures to support clinical decisions and links process improvement to patient outcomes. Hospitals that achieve Transcatheter Valve Certification learn best practices for implementing evidence-based medicine to support patient-centered decision making and can track key performance metrics to better identify opportunities for improvement.

“This certification is proof of the dedication of our team in providing the best outcomes to our patients,” said Richard Kettelkamp, DO, UnityPoint Health – Heart and Vascular Institute and St. Luke’s Cardiology. “St. Luke’s is the first in the state to earn this accreditation. It means we have an established, proven program that patients can be confident in when they choose St. Luke’s for their TAVR procedure and heart care.”

The ACC offers U.S. and international hospitals like St. Luke’s access to a comprehensive suite of cardiac accreditation services designed to optimize patient outcomes and improve hospital financial performance.

These services are focused on all aspects of cardiac care, including transcatheter valve therapies.

About UnityPoint Health® – Cedar Rapids
UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids is a senior member of one of the nation’s most integrated health systems in the Midwest, UnityPoint Health. UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids consists of St. Luke’s Hospital, which has been nationally recognized six times as a Top 100 Hospital, has formed partnerships with more than 194 health care providers, 33 physician clinics and 3,000 associates. UnityPoint Health –Cedar Rapids is committed to providing programs and services to improve the health of individuals throughout Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities and works towards innovative advancements to deliver the Best Outcome for Every Patient Every Time. Its centers of excellence include cardiac care, robotic surgery, obstetrics, neonatology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, behavioral health, surgery, and trauma care.

About the American College of Cardiology

The American College of Cardiology envisions a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. As the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, the mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC bestows credentials upon cardiovascular professionals who meet stringent qualifications and leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College also provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research through its world-renowned JACC Journals, operates national registries to measure and improve care, and offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions. For more, visit acc.org.

New Mammography Recommendations for Women Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

The MedQuarter | February 18th, 2021

The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) recently updated its mammography recommendations, that women who’ve received their second COVID-19 vaccine shot should wait four weeks to receive a screening mammogram, after radiologists nationwide noticed a spike in mammograms showing swollen lymph nodes among women who recently received the COVID-19 vaccination. These enlarged lymph nodes may prohibit an accurate reading on a screening mammogram, which could lead to unnecessary diagnostic testing.

In addition to the SBI recommendation, St. Luke’s Breast and Bone Health would like to stress the importance that women not wait to receive a diagnostic mammogram if they notice symptoms, such as a lump or pain in their breast, regardless of when they received the COVID-19 vaccine. This recent SBI recommendation applies only to routine screening mammograms where patients aren’t experiencing any symptoms.

“If a patient is experiencing any new symptoms, regardless if they have received the COVID vaccine or not, they should reach out to their primary care provider to discuss further imaging and not delay care,” said Therese Michels, manager of St. Luke’s Breast and Bone Health. “We don’t want patients who have recently been vaccinated and then experience a lump or pain in the breast or axilla area to think they should wait. They should get checked out as soon as possible.”

UnityPoint Health will be implementing the following SBI recommendations for patients who are not experiencing symptoms and are scheduled to receive a screening mammogram:

Patients arriving for a mammogram will be asked the following questions:

Have you received the COVID-19 vaccination?

If yes, when did you receive the vaccination and in which arm?

If possible, consider scheduling your screening mammogram prior to your first dose of the COVID vaccine. If you have already received your vaccination, please consider scheduling your screening mammogram four weeks after your second dose of the COVID vaccine.

If you have questions about this information, call St. Luke’s Breast and Bone Health at (319) 369-7216.

Standard & Poor’s reaffirms strong credit rating for Mercy Cedar Rapids

The MedQuarter | February 15th, 2021

Mercy Medical CenterStandard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings has reaffirmed Mercy Medical Center’s “A-” credit rating. The credit analysis factors the financial performance of Mercycare Service Corporation and related organizations, such as Mercy Care Management, Inc.; physician practices; and the Mercy Medical Center Foundation.

The “A-” credit rating reflects Mercy’s improved financial performance for mid-fiscal year 2021.  The S&P outlook is listed as stable, reflecting Mercy’s healthy reserves, even as the pandemic has required more complex processes and increased supplies, equipment and personnel costs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a rapidly changing situation that is challenging the healthcare sector across the country,” said Nathan Van Genderen, Mercy executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Even so, Mercy has a strong history of consistently meeting or surpassing budget targets identified through a multi-year strategic plan, as well as its leading market position. We feel confident that we’ll see continued growth in our primary care services, as well as specialty care, such as cardiology, orthopedics, urology, gastroenterology and oncology.”

Van Genderen noted that Mercy has been effective in pursuing more access points for its patients, such as opening the state’s first stand-alone emergency room at Hiawatha Medical Park; expanding its telehealth capabilities; and completing construction on a freestanding ambulatory surgery center.

Firestone Cares for Cars, Customers

The MedQuarter | February 15th, 2021

Finding a trustworthy auto repair shop can be stressful. In the MedQuarter Regional Medical District, Firestone Complete Auto Care is ready to fill that need.

Its convenient location and array of auto services mean customers are able to get the service they need, but Area Manager Scott Graham focuses on the importance of customer relationships.

“We want to be your complete auto care center. We want to be the trusted one in the neighborhood. If you come here you’re going to get the quality, the reputable service, and we’re going to stand behind our service,” he says.

Customer care extends to other areas as well. Store Manager Bobby Barns adds that they keep customers informed about discounts and coupons. There’s even a discount program for employees that work in the MedQuarter.

“If a customer leaves happy, I’m happy,” Bobby says.

Managing Through COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has altered operations at Firestone, but it hasn’t changed priorities. The company has adopted numerous mitigation efforts to help keep its customers and team members safe.

That’s even more important considering its location in the MedQuarter, proximity to nearby health facilities and working with clientele who may be health-sensitive.

“Firestone has a culture of safety,” Scott says. “We’re sanitizing the waiting area, creating a clean and inviting shop for customers to feel safe.”

The shop offers complimentary masks, contact-free services and online appointment scheduling. “All these pieces have helped us manage through COVID and really take care of our customers,” Scott says.

Bobby enjoys the steady stream of customers at the MedQuarter location. Walk-in traffic has been lower this year due to the pandemic, but has picked up recently. He appreciates the proximity to a wide variety of small businesses, medical practices, restaurants and attractions as well.

Always up for a challenge, Bobby worked his way up from technician to manager. As a longtime car enthusiast, he still enjoys getting his hands dirty alongside the technicians and working directly with customers to give them the top-notch service they deserve. He finds it gratifying when he’s able to help.

One recent morning, he says, a couple found themselves with a stalled vehicle just down the street from Firestone. Bobby and his staff were able to get the vehicle up and running within a half-hour and get the couple back on the road.

“It’s always nice to start the day with a smile on your face,” he says.

Firestone Complete Auto Care

205 10th St SE, Cedar Rapids

Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays

319-364-9175

www.firestonecompleteautocare.com

Hall-Perrine Cancer Center acquires advanced technology to offer unparalleled cancer diagnosis and treatment to community

The MedQuarter | February 10th, 2021

CEDAR RAPDIS, IA (Feb. 10, 2021) – The Hall-Perrine Cancer Center (HPCC) at Mercy Cedar Rapids has invested in the latest imaging technology for cancer detection and radiation treatment planning. The technology includes a new digital PET-CT scanner, as well as a CT simulation scanner and planning system. This cancer-fighting technology is the most advanced in Cedar Rapids and, when combined, provides unrivaled image quality, as well as faster scan times and a lower radiation dose for patients.

The digital PET-CT scanner was installed in December 2020, and the CT simulation scanner and planning system is scheduled to be installed early this spring.

Here’s how it works: By overlaying the PET-CT scan and the CT simulation scan, HPCC radiation oncologists will be able to outline the cancerous area so that patient treatments can be more accurately targeted to the tumor, while reducing the dose to adjacent, healthy tissue. And, because the new technology provides clearer imaging, doctors will be able to improve patient outcomes by identifying disease sooner and with more precision.

The digital PET-CT scanner produces high resolution 3D images for the most accurate diagnosis and reduces the amount of radiation needed to obtain PET (positron emission tomography) pictures of the human body. The CT (computed tomography) portion also uses less radiation to create the 3D imaging.

“When our medical oncology team is viewing the PET-CT scans from the new scanner, we can see improved image quality, which helps us more readily diagnose patients,” said Deborah Wilbur, MD, HPCC director of hematology and oncology. “The new PET-CT is able to show us diseases that are three times smaller than non-digital scanners, which allows us to identify cancers that other scanners can’t. In addition to being the most advanced PET-CT imaging in Cedar Rapids, patients will also have a more comfortable experience.”

To that end, the imaging table used during the scan is wider to allow patients to lie more comfortably. It’s also lower to the floor so patients can easily get on and off the table. Advancements in image-capturing technology allow for faster scanning times, which significantly shorten the time patients have to lie on the table.

After patients have completed their PET-CT scan, physicians, physicists and dosimetrists are able to evaluate the scan to determine how best to position the patient for the CT simulation scan, based on where the tumor is located in the body.

“With the new technology, the CT simulation scan will only take up to one minute, compared to the previous 15-minute scan time,” said Dr. Wook Lee, MD, HPCC radiation oncologist. “This creates a more efficient and comfortable experience for patients, and also provides a faster turnaround for us to review the scans. Plus, the improved image quality will allow us to better identify the location of the cancer in the body and then utilize the state-of-the-art treatment planning system to create a personalized treatment plan.”

This new technology was made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the Hall-Perrine Foundation, in addition to an investment by Mercy Medical Center.

Tanager Place offers new program, Saving Our Sisters

The MedQuarter | February 5th, 2021

Tanager Place is offering a new program for middle and high school girls who are involved in or at-risk of getting involved in groups of youth committing violence in the community.

The new program, S.O.S, Savings Our Sisters, will attempt to reach youth before they make life-altering decisions, building a support network of peers and adult mentors that encourages positive decision-making.

Tanager Place and the African American Family Resource and Planning Committee will collaborate and work with a variety of community partners to identify and connect with young girls who could benefit from this program.

“We are hopeful this program will provide a new avenue to reach the young women of our community. We are confident that if we can engage with and positively impact the decisions made at a critical time in their development, we can encourage positive and healthy futures,” said Mike Hines, deputy chief executive officer for Tanager Place, in a release.

This program is funded through the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Fund. Tanager Place was one of five nonprofits selected to receive funding. Nearly $160,000 was granted from the fund for programming efforts for 2021.

Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer chosen for $10,000 grant award

The MedQuarter | January 28th, 2021

West Side TransportThe Especially for You® Race Against Breast Cancer is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of this year’s Convoy for a Cure grant award, totaling $10,000. The grant is awarded annually by truckload carrier West Side Transport, Inc.

Through employee fundraisers in 2016, West Side Transport was able to purchase a 53-foot semi-trailer for its fleet, naming it Convoy for a Cure. The Convoy for a Cure trailer is wrapped in bright pink and painted with 12 colorful ribbons, symbolizing different types of cancer.

The company said several of its employees had battled cancer or lost loved ones to the disease, so it seemed a natural fit to use the colorful semi-trailer to help raise cancer awareness and generate funds as it travels across the country. The revenue it generates supports the annual grant award.

“Cancer is personal, and almost all of us have a story to tell about someone we love who has battled the disease,” said Sue Smith, director of driver services at West Side Transport. “We decided we could make a difference by putting this eye-catching truck out on the road and then using the funds it generates along the way to support a local charity of our choice each year. This year, we felt EFY was so deserving because the funds raised through the EFY Race stay local and provide access to screening and diagnostic services for not only breast cancer, but gynecological cancers, as well.”

“We are grateful to be chosen for this award,” said Jeff Decker, EFY race director. “We have always appreciated our partnership with West Side Transport. One of the special things they do is bring the Convoy for a Cure trailer to the race starting line for everyone to enjoy. It’s a pretty impressive vehicle and it resonates with so many people because of the symbolism of the ribbons, representing various types of cancer. Now, with this award, the trailer will help us even more, as we fight cancer in our community.”

West Side Transport presented a check to EFY on Wed., Jan. 27, at their new company headquarters in Cedar Rapids.

UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Receives ACC Certification

The MedQuarter | January 28th, 2021

UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Receives ACC CertificationUnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital has been recognized by The American College of Cardiology (ACC) for its demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients receiving transcatheter valve (TAVR) repair and replacement procedures.

The procedure is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure to replace the aortic valve in patients with aortic stenosis instead of undergoing open heart surgery.

St. Luke’s was awarded Transcatheter Valve Certification based on evaluation of the staff’s ability to meet standards for multidisciplinary teams, formalized training, shared decision-making and registry performance. The certification is an external review and certification process that pairs with established national clinical databases to monitor patient safety and real-world outcomes related to transcatheter valve therapies.

Participation in established national clinical databases such as the STS/ACC TVT Registry is required for hospitals interested in achieving Transcatheter Valve Certification.

“This certification is proof of the dedication of our team in providing the best outcomes to our patients,” said Dr. Richard Kettelkamp of UnityPoint Health – Heart and Vascular Institute and St. Luke’s Cardiology in a release. “St. Luke’s is the first in the state to earn this accreditation. It means we have an established, proven program that patients can be confident in when they choose St. Luke’s for their TAVR procedure and heart care.”

The certification uses established national clinical measures to support clinical decisions and links process improvement to patient outcomes. Hospitals that achieve certification learn best practices for implementing evidence-based medicine to support patient-centered decision making and can track key performance metrics to better identify opportunities for improvement.

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