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Release: Aug. 20, 1999

Marengo Memorial Hospital to celebrate affiliation with UI Health Care

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Marengo Memorial Hospital's return to financial health, made possible through generous public support and an affiliation with University of Iowa Health Care, will be acknowledged at a celebration in Marengo from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Cake and punch will be served at the event, which will be held on the front lawn of Marengo Memorial Hospital, 300 West May St. In addition, a new sign identifying the hospital and its affiliation with UI Health Care will be unveiled.

Featured speakers include Charles Merritt, chair of Marengo Memorial Hospital's board of trustees; Mike Trachta, CEO of Marengo Memorial Hospital; and R. Edward Howell, director and CEO of the UI Hospitals and Clinics. The UI Hospitals and Clinics partners with the UI College of Medicine and the UI College of Public Health to comprise UI Health Care.

"A year ago, Marengo Memorial Hospital was struggling financially," Merritt said. "Today, thanks to the generous response of residents and businesses in Marengo and the surrounding communities, along with University of Iowa Health Care, we are in good shape."

UI Health Care has worked collaboratively with Marengo Memorial Hospital through teleradiology, consultation and other avenues in the past. When Marengo Memorial Hospital struggled

financially in recent months, the relationship was expanded to include emergency room physician support and management advice.

"University of Iowa Health Care really came through when we needed assistance," Merritt said. "After we explained our situation, they not only didn't turn a cold shoulder, they offered help immediately. As a result, the board of trustees felt it was time to formalize our affiliation with University of Iowa Health Care."

Under the agreement, which went into effect July 1, 1999, an administrator employed by the UI Hospitals and Clinics serves as CEO of Marengo Memorial Hospital. The CEO works full-time in Marengo while reporting to both the Marengo Memorial trustees and UI Health Care administration.

"There was no transfer of assets," Howell said. "Marengo Memorial Hospital maintains its autonomy and identity. The board of trustees has contracted with University of Iowa Health Care for management expertise, but ownership and control is unchanged."

Marengo Memorial Hospital is the first community hospital to formally affiliate with UI Health Care.

Howell said, "University of Iowa Health Care's longtime mission has been to operate in support of community-based hospitals and physicians. Our assistance to the residents of Marengo and Iowa County through their community hospital is a further expression of our commitment to maintaining a strong, community-based health system in Iowa."

Marengo Memorial Hospital, located 30 miles northwest of Iowa City, is the only hospital in Iowa County. It provides acute, skilled, and extended care, as well as many support services.