University of Iowa Health Care is addressing the health care access gap in Iowa City’s southeast neighborhood by planning more primary care services in this underserved area.
Although the southeast side of Iowa City is the most densely populated part of the city, it has the fewest primary care options, according to an analysis by UI Health Care. Many residents must travel outside of their immediate community to access care.
“In order to build strong neighborhoods and a healthy community, we need to make sure everyone has access to high-quality health care,” Mayor Bruce Teague said. “We are pleased the University of Iowa shares this commitment to increase health care access. By placing primary care services in this currently underserved neighborhood, we can have a positive impact on the health of our community for years to come.”
Improving health outcomes with local access
Studies have shown that limited access to primary care can increase people’s use of emergency departments or urgent care as their main source of health care. Not only does this increase health care costs and emergency care backlogs, but it also increases a person’s likelihood of developing chronic diseases.
“Having a relationship with a primary care doctor for regular, preventative care is shown to have better long-term health outcomes,” says Kim Hunter, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nurse Executive at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. “By adding services in southeast Iowa City, we are increasing local access and reducing barriers for individuals seeking high-quality care.”
A vision for the future of health care in Iowa
The construction of a primary care health facility in southeast Iowa City is part of UI Health Care’s commitment to increase health care access for Iowans across the state while training the next generation of Iowa’s physicians. Nearly half of physicians trained at UI Health Care go on to practice in Iowa.
Once complete, the southeast Iowa City facility will house most of the primary care services currently located at the main campus of UI Hospitals & Clinics. Space planning across UI Health Care locations in future and existing facilities looks at reconfiguring and expanding health care services and academic space to serve patients and their families as well as faculty and staff.
As the state’s only comprehensive academic medical center, UI Hospitals & Clinics will continue to evaluate the best location for services to increase health care access for patients while fulfilling its patient care, teaching, and research mission.