The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Mercy Iowa City needs fixing, but should remain an acute health care facility

Following UIHC’s likely acquisition of Mercy Iowa City, it should tweak some operational things, but keep the functional purpose of the hospital the same.
Cody Blissett
The University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics is seen on Wednesday, June 19, 2023.

Mercy Iowa City will likely soon be in the hands of the University of Iowa. After court filings alleged plans to turn Mercy Iowa City into a behavioral health facility, the acquisition could remove needed acute health care services. 

With Mercy Iowa City facing bankruptcy, the state Board of Regents approved UIHC’s bid to acquire the hospital for $20 million. 

RELATED: Regents approve UI’s $20 million bid to acquire Mercy Iowa City

Upon the hospital’s sale to UIHC, some of Mercy Iowa City’s investors expressed concerns about the sale. In addition to claiming that they were never consulted before the hospital filed for bankruptcy, they also claimed the UI intends to change the hospital from a “full-service acute care hospital” into “largely a behavioral health hospital.”

While there is no doubt that the study and practice of behavioral health care is as important as any health care, turning this Mercy location from a community hospital into an exclusively behavioral health care facility is not the best idea for the community.

If the UI wants a space specifically for behavioral health study and practice, it should be on the west side of the Iowa River with the other UIHC buildings. Mercy’s current location in the middle of town on the east side is too good a location to sacrifice an acute full-service hospital. 

Mercy’s size and location offer a lot of benefits. It is larger and offers more services than the smaller UI Quick Care facilities scattered around Iowa City, but it is not as large and thus much easier to access than the gargantuan UIHC on the west side.

Some of the plans the UI announced for the future of the hospital are fair and will be beneficial to its financial and operational sustainability going forward. UIHC plans to include keeping doctors in good standing employed, creating an advisory board, and allowing them to have their own chief administrative officer.

Even though UIHC will own the hospital, these plans will ensure not only a smooth transition between owners but allow some strategic independence. Having an advisory board specifically for the hospital will create some of the stability that it desperately needs.

There are a lot of uses and potential for the potential acquisition, but the best option would be to keep it as a community health center and polish up the operations and financial issues.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article said Mercy Iowa City is turning into a behavioral health facility, however, this statement is only alleged. The DI regrets this error. 

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About the Contributors
Evan Weidl, Opinions Editor
Evan Weidl is a senior majoring in political science. He previously worked in the opinions section as a columnist.
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.