UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown plots its course

T-R FILE PHOTO Pictured is the main entrance to UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown’s 49-bed hospital at its downtown campus. On the right is “Tribute to Caregivers,” honoring current and former hospital staff and volunteers. Additionally, UnityPoint’s downtown facilities offer emergency department, a clinic, and Cardiac Cath Lab services. In August, 2015, a $35 million dollar Medical Park opened directly across from Marshalltown Community College. In addition to the Marshalltown Clinic, UnityPoint also owns clinics in Conrad, State Center and Tama-Toledo.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of two articles on UnityPoint Health-Waterloo’s purchase of former Central Iowa Healthcare. UnityPoint Health took possession May 1, and the series examines changes and what the future holds.

Beginning May 1, a former independent hospital with a nearly 104-year old presence in Marshalltown has become a member of UnityPoint Health corporate, a large, not-for profit health care provider.

“A new day in health care” was — and still is being proclaimed to Central Iowans.

And with new ownership came a corresponding name change — UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown replaced Central Iowa Healthcare.

Name changes are not new to the hospital.

It has been known as Evangelical Deaconess Hospital, Marshalltown Area Community Hospital, Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, and Central Iowa Healthcare.

‘Hospital is stable’

However, behind the name change, major changes have taken place during the past 60-plus days.

“The hospital is now stable,” said UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown President Dustin Wright.

Before UnityPoint took ownership, CIH had declared bankruptcy six months prior.

Wright said major changes have been implemented since May 1, which have impacted staff, patients and clinics in Conrad, Tama-Toledo and State Center with more to come.

Recently Wright, joined by Regional Marketing Communication Director Laura Rainey and Sr. Marketing Communications Specialist Josh Green, discussed changes made and future plans.

Focus on staff

“The first thing we did was focus on the staff,” said Wright.

They had been through a lot,” in reference to the six month period of bankruptcy which resulted in layoffs and significant changes to the Emergency Department.

“We wanted to impress upon them that UnityPoint employment can be a rewarding career and not just a job.”

Wright said UnityPoint has approximately 520 employees, making it one of Marshalltown’s largest employers, and accordingly making UnityPoint a critical health care provider not only for Marshalltown, but for approximately 60,000 residents in the surrounding area.

Staff appointments

On May 1, Jennifer Havens, CEO of UnityPoint/Grundy County Memorial Hospital in Grundy Center, stepped in as interim president and vice president for operations. She was in charge of day-to-day management until Wright, reported for duties June 1.

“Dr. Russell Adams was appointed Chief Medical Officer,” said Wright. “He has been at the table with the management team making significant, positive changes which will impact patient care.”

Additionally, Christopher Hawkins of State Center was appointed director of nursing. He previously was director for the following patient care units; medical, surgical, telemetry, pediatrics, emergency department, intensive care, wound care and nursing administration at CIH.

From CIH to UnityPoint

The bankruptcy was mitigated by months of serious financial losses.

Through a serious of long and complicated federal bankruptcy court hearings earlier this year, UnityPoint Health-Waterloo won as successful bidder of CIH assets.

On March 31, UPH-Waterloo and CIH submitted an asset purchase agreement to the bankruptcy court finalizing a plan to purchase substantially all CIH assets.

The assets included CIH’s acute care hospital, emergency department, and four primary care clinics – Conrad, Marshalltown, State Center and Tama-Toledo – as well as the CIH Outpatient Center. Under the plan, healthcare would continue in Marshalltown and surrounding communities as CIH assets would become owned by UnityPoint Health and be known as UPH-Marshalltown.

A joint press release issued earlier this month by the two not-for profit providers said they were committed to keeping healthcare local in Marshalltown and surrounding communities while working toward a resolution May 1.

The plan was approved latter by the bankruptcy court.