Iowa’s only pediatric physiatrist visits Coralville to help children with special needs

Fred Klingbeil, a pediatric physiatrist, has begun traveling from the Des Moines ChildServe clinic to the location in Coralville to provide physical therapy to children with special needs.


Kate Pixley

The ChildServe sign is seen in Coralville.

Kate Pixley, News Reporter

Patients at ChildServe in Coralville no longer have to drive to Des Moines in order to receive physiatric therapy.

Fred Klingbeil, the only pediatric physiatrist in Iowa, began making visits to the ChildServe clinic in Coralville earlier this month to work with children whose movement has been affected by disease or serious injury.

ChildServe often works with the University of Iowa clinics to create holistic care plans for ChildServe patients. Klingbeil believes that this relationship will further benefit from his Coralville visits.

“I think it’s going to be easier for [the patients], and I think working closely with the university and helping it coordinate its efforts [will benefit everyone],” Klingbeil said.

Klingbeil is the medical director of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at ChildServe and a University of Iowa adjunct professor in the Stead Family Pediatrics Department in the Carver College of Medicine.

Klingbeil is the only board-certified pediatric physiatrist in the state. Previously, he worked in the Johnston location of ChildServe, causing families to have to drive to the Des Moines area from around the state for care.

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ChildServe is an organization that provides specialized health care to children with specific medical needs. ChildServe assists patients with diseases such as cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, and multiple sclerosis, in addition to traumatic injury care and behavioral disorders. It has locations in Des Moines, Ames, Johnston, and Coralville.

Klingbeil has decades of experience in pediatric rehabilitation, according to a statement provided to *The Daily Iowan* by ChildServe.

“Dr. Klingbeil came to ChildServe after 10 years at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where he developed and led a very successful pediatric-rehabilitation medicine program. Earlier in his career, Dr. Klingbeil served at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation and Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. Dr. Klingbeil earned his medical degree from Wayne State University and completed his Pediatric/PM&R residency at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan,” the statement said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, physiatrists are doctors in physical medicine and rehabilitation, meaning that they help to restore physical abilities to people whose bodies have been affected by disease or injury.

Rachel Kongshaug, the rehabilitation manager for the Childserve Coralville location, said she believes Klingbeil’s increased access can improve patients’ care.

“Rehabilitation medicine provides a holistic review of the functional needs of the child through a medical lens,” she said. “Many children see multiple specialists who each focus in on a specific medical issue. Dr. Klingbeil takes all of those issues and assesses how they collectively impact the child’s function.”

Kongshaug said that Klingbeil’s presence would also help simplify the care process for families with children with special needs.

“With so many medical recommendations, it can be overwhelming for a family to determine what is the priority and how to move forward,” she said. “Dr. Klingbeil can help families determine their child’s care plan and identify the key medical and rehabilitation providers needed. By looking at the child’s health in this comprehensive big picture way, he can help families enhance the child’s health, well-being and quality of life.”