Changing Medicine. Changing Lives. ®

November 6, 2017

Overcoming uncertainty

After last year’s presidential election, I remember writing in this column about the uncertainties facing the health care system. Like others, I hoped that by now there would be more clarity surrounding federal and state Medicaid reform and mandates and rulings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Instead, the nation, state, and UI Health Care continue to be challenged by an unprecedented level of uncertainty in the health care system.

The good news is, rather than just accepting this state of limbo, UI Health Care is working to overcome the uncertainty by grounding ourselves in our core mission and pursuing the goals and tactics laid out in our 2017-2020 integrated strategic plan. A first quarter report shows we are making progress in all five goals.

As an academic medical center, we are not alone when it comes to meeting the challenges of fulfilling our tripartite mission in an ever-changing health care landscape. In fact, this past weekend UI Health Care faculty, staff and administrative leaders attended the American Association of Medical Colleges’ annual meeting to learn about and bring back to our campus the latest strategies and best practices being used to advance medical education, research, and patient care. Topics of interest included: the opioid epidemic; creating synergies in patient care, education and research; using technology to improve education, research, and patient care; wellness and well-being of faculty, staff, students, and trainees; optimizing electronic medical records to reduce provider burden and improve quality of care; and health care disparities, underserved populations, and implicit and explicit bias in clinical environments.

Regardless of what comes, we can best serve our patients and fellow citizens by continuing to do what we do best—caring for patients, conducting biomedical research, and training the next generation of health professionals. We have been doing that for more than 100 years and are committed to doing so well into the future.

Among those we serve are the faculty and staff members of the University of Iowa. Last week, we all received an email from University Benefits reminding us that we are in the open enrollment period, which ends Nov. 17, 2017. At this time every year, UI employees have the opportunity to review and change their benefit elections. There are several benefit changes for 2018, which employees are encouraged to review prior to completing their enrollment on the Employee Self Service site.

As you plan your benefits and choose health care providers, I hope you keep UI Health Care in mind. We look forward to the year ahead and welcome the opportunity to serve you.

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