UI partners to form Iowa Liver Center

UI partners to form Iowa Liver Center

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Agreement will expand patient care to central, western Iowa

The University of Iowa announced on Friday that it has partnered with two health-care organizations in Iowa to form a new organization to care for patients with liver disease.

Called the Iowa Liver Center, the new organization will offer a full range of well-coordinated diagnostic, treatment and support services to care for people with diseases of the liver and biliary tract in central and western Iowa. The center unites the expertise of the University of Iowa Organ Transplant Center, based in Iowa City, the Iowa Digestive Disease Center (IDDC), based in Clive, and Mercy Medical Center–Des Moines, including its affiliated clinics and subsidiaries.

The center also will:

  • Use the shared expertise and resources of the participating organizations to ensure the most advanced treatments and services are available.
  • Meet patient needs with a full and well-coordinated continuum of care, including the sophisticated and complex care requirements, such as liver transplants.
  • Assure outstanding quality, excellent services, and cost-efficiencies through highly effective care coordination among the physicians, nurses, and others caring for these individuals.

“This collaborative effort will result in an even better care experience for patients,” says Alan Reed, professor and chief of transplant and hepatobiliary surgery at UI Health Care. “Bringing together the leading digestive disease physicians, transplant surgeons, and other professionals from Iowa’s three leading organizations in this field allows us to create a streamlined and well-defined process of care. Coordinating care and sharing clinical data will result in higher quality and efficiency.”

Ravi Vemulapalli, M.D., of the IDDC in Clive notes the UI Organ Transplant team and IDDC have a long and established relationship in caring for patients with complex liver diseases. “The addition of Mercy Medical Center and its clinics enhances the original vision of collaborative and quality care for patients with all forms of liver disease," he says.

"The creation of a comprehensive program such as the Iowa Liver Center takes these less formal relationships to the next level. It allows clinical professionals to share comparative data, and to use it to reduce unnecessary variation, streamline care, and improve patient outcomes," says David Vellinga, president and chief executive officer of Mercy.

Vellinga adds similar collaborations are being discussed in other clinical services. “The physicians and other leaders at Mercy have had great relationships with, and respect for, the University of Iowa’s health care services for many years," he notes.

In addition to improved patient care processes, specific initiatives to be undertaken by the participants in the Iowa Liver Center include shared programs, seminars and other continuing education related to liver disease for specialists and primary care physicians; coordinated quality management, reporting, and certification programs; and improved flow of patient information to the appropriate providers as patients move to different levels of care.


Thomas Moore, UI Health Care Marketing & Communications, 319-356-3945
Gregg Lagan, Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, 515-247-3050; cell: 515-490-6636
Veryl Kroon, Iowa Digestive Disease Center, 515-288-6097


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