Enhancing pediatric care in the Quad Cities

Children living in the Quad Cities who have specialized health needs may now receive health care much closer to home, thanks to a new pediatric specialty clinic offered through a partnership with University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and Genesis Health System. Genesis Health Group, 865 Lincoln Road, Suite 500 in Bettendorf, iis now home to several UI Children’s Hospital pediatric specialists including cardiology, electrophysiology, genetics, nephrology, neuromuscular care, surgery, and child health specialty clinics for children with special needs. In addition:

  • UI Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care physicians care for sick and at-risk babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Genesis Medical Center, Davenport.
  • Vickie Pyevich, MD, provides pediatric cardiology care and treats children diagnosed with lipid disorders on the Genesis campus in Davenport.
  • Riad Rahhal, MD, and Judith Heckman, PA-C, see patients in a special pediatric gastroenterology clinic at Genesis Medical Park Gastroenterology Associates, PC, Bettendorf.

“We’ve been in the Quad Cities for decades,” says Thomas Scholz, MD, interim head of the UI Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of UI Children’s Hospital. “We’ve provided these services that haven’t really had a place of their own. In fact, last year, we cared for nearly 1,400 pediatric patients in our existing Quad Cities locations (this was in addition to the nearly 5,000 Quad Cities children treated at UI Children’s Hospital in Iowa City). Our goal was to bring all of these services within one area.”

The new location not only brings the services together but also allows room to grow as more specialists are added, Scholz says.

“It is our hope that by providing these services we will be addressing unmet needs in the Quad Cities area, that we will provide a broader umbrella of specialized care for kids that may not have ready access,” he says.

Matthys Family of Davenport, Iowa

The Matthyses at a family outing by the Mississippi River.

No one needs to convince Kelly and Bill Matthys of Davenport of the benefits of having specialized health care close to home. They experience those benefits each time they take 5-year-old Wrigley to see Pyevich (Wrigley was referred to Pyevich by Kelly’s obstetrician).

Wrigley was diagnosed as having transposition of the great vessels – his aorta and pulmonary artery were switched around – when Kelly was 24 weeks pregnant.

Pyevich helped the Matthys’s throughout the pregnancy and discussed the best way to treat Wrigley after he was born. Because they had time, Kelly Matthys said she and her husband were able to investigate where they wanted to go for Wrigley’s birth and his surgery.

“It was a hard, emotional pregnancy to know something like that for so long, but we were able to do a lot of research on different hospitals,” Kelly Matthys says. “We were given the information ahead of time and we wanted to make the best decision for our child.”

The couple interviewed doctors and surgeons at UI Children’s Hospital as well as at hospitals in Chicago, and ultimately decided to deliver Wrigley at UI Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.

“We absolutely made the best choice,” Kelly Matthys says. Wrigley was born on Sept. 14, 2006, and five days later underwent open heart surgery to repair the transpositioned vessels. Less than two weeks later he was sent home. With the exception of one follow-up appointment in Iowa City, all of Wrigley’s care has been done with Pyevich in Davenport.

“We feel that we’re so blessed to have this great facility right in our backyard,” Kelly Matthys says. “Everything is right here, and that’s so amazing and convenient.”

“UI Children’s Hospital has been providing pediatric cardiology services for Quad City families since 1998, in a full time clinic located at the Genesis Heart Institute in Davenport,” Pyevich says.

Scholz credits the partnership between UI Children’s Hospital and Genesis Health System for making both the new location and the longstanding services successful.

“The partnership is definitely a strength in making this work,” he says. “We are able to provide pediatric subspecialty expertise and they can provide the necessary technical assistance.”

“The ability to provide these services closer to home is really our goal,” Scholz says. “We want to provide a system of care for all of the children of Iowa.”

UI Children’s Hospital offers pediatric services throughout Iowa.

–Spring-Summer 2012 (story by Molly Rossiter/photo by Susan McClellen)

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