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Rotary hears about future plans for UnityPoint

Rotarians enjoyed Kay Beach at the keys while partaking lunch at the Black Box Theatre for the Oct. 29 meeting. Beach filled in for a recovering Arlene Selby.

Bonnie Lowery presided over the induction of the club’s newest member, Kristie Fisher, chancellor of Iowa Valley Community College District. Lowery encouraged Fisher to allow the club to leverage her passions while living out the Rotary motto of Service Above Self.

Lynn Olberding gave a welcome update on Ken Anderson’s recovery.

Jenni Friedly, President of UnityPoint Marshalltown was introduced to present a program entitled: Transforming Health Care in Marshalltown — Creating a Sustainable Model.

UnityPoint purchased the hospital in 2017 and has invested more than $50 million. Friedly began by sharing the improvements implemented to reduce operating losses. She described the financial challenges of the north campus, duplication of services and outmigration of patients. Friedly described the hospital’s market share and footprint, noting the shift toward outpatient services is a trend seen throughout the industry.

She gave the background and basis for closing the obstetrics practice, making a compelling case for what was a tough decision. UnityPoint does not project any future reduction in services and Friedly emphasized that “the south campus is our future.”

The plan is two-thirds of the way through the approval process that is anticipated to wrap up by year-end. If approved, construction and expanded services at the south-side location could be complete in 2022.

Friedly welcomed questions and topics further discussed included a merger with Sanford Health, a proposal that is in the final stages of due diligence. The discussion of efforts to sustain rural health care was timely given there are 17 hospitals in the state that are in danger of closing. The future of UnityPoint looks bright in Marshalltown if recent patient feedback is any indication.