University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics needs to add more hospital beds due to the influx of COVID-19 patients.
The Board of Regents is already taking a major step towards this with the building of a new hospital in North Liberty. The new hospital will include more inpatient beds, as well as other similar duties the main hospital carries out.
This new hospital is slated to be finished in 2025, and once it’s built, it should help take the pressure off the main hospital by increasing bed availability.
An increase in bed capacity would also increase the quality of the experience at the hospital because it could help take less time to be seen by a doctor in emergency situations.
A new hospital is great and is a needed plan to add more beds. But it only adds them in the future, and we need to address how we are going to deal with the demand in beds now.
As COVID-19 cases rise, the inpatient bed capacity at the UI hospital is at 95 percent and higher. This bottle neck on beds has caused emergency rooms to run at maximum capacity, where it could take hours to see a doctor.
Emergency care should be a major concern and is a situation where beds are needed the most.
Of course, if you have a life-threatening injury or something that would be altered by the long wait, you will be moved to the front of the line.
For non-emergency cases, surgeries, and other operations have been postponed in other hospitals to better take care of the current COVID-19 patients.
Because we need beds now, the state of Iowa and the Board of Regents need to fund and approve an emergency expansion plan where buildings are repurposed or tents and put up to be able to take care of more patients.
The UI needs more beds not only for COVID-19 patients, and the way the trends are going, COVID-19 is not the only reason the hospital is running low on beds.
Local hospitals aren’t always equipped to handle everything, especially in emergency cases, which is one of the main reasons people need hospitals like the UI hospital.
With people coming from across Iowa and surrounding states to get to UIHC, it’s not surprising the hospital has reached maximum capacity at some points.
However, other major cities in Iowa could add more beds as well as other major services to get people who are closer to those cities to go there instead of UIHC.
Like the current UI plan, cities like Des Moines could build new hospitals to provide better health care to towns and to provide more beds, which will improve the hospital system across the state of Iowa.
Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.