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CONTACT: MICHAEL SONDERGARD
8798 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 356-7123
e-mail: michael-sondergard@uiowa.edu

Release: Feb. 17, 2000

Outpatients at UI Hospitals and Clinics to park for free

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As part of ongoing efforts to enhance patient services, University of Iowa Health Care will provide free parking for all patients making clinic visits starting Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Under the new program, any patient visiting an outpatient clinic and/or ancillary unit at the UI Hospitals and Clinics will receive a complimentary parking pass at the time of their clinic visit. This pass, when presented to a parking ramp attendant at the time of departure, will cover the cost of parking one vehicle for the duration of the outpatient visit.

R. Edward Howell, director and CEO of the UI Hospitals and Clinics, described the new program as one in a series of initiatives designed to meet the needs and expectations of patients and families using UI Health Care services.

"This is an opportunity to make the lives of patients who visit the specialty clinics at the UI Hospitals and Clinics a little easier and more pleasant," he said.

Howell noted that parking is already free for primary care patients visiting the UI Family Care Center on Melrose Avenue. "Our new parking initiative represents a significant expansion of this concept," he said. "We think it will be a popular program."

Howell added that the parking program for outpatients is consistent with what patients indicate they expect from the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Furthermore, he said, any inpatient or family member staying at the UI Hospitals and Clinics will still be able to purchase a permit that allows them to park in any of the four Hospital Parking Ramps for seven consecutive days at a reduced rate.

The complimentary parking program has already been evaluated through pilot projects involving UI Heart Care patients and through staff enrolled in UI health plans, as a prelude to full implementation. These pilot programs were very successful, Howell said.

UI Health Care annually records more than 545,496 ambulatory clinic visits, including patients from all 99 counties in Iowa, all 49 other states and many other nations.

Parking facilities used by UI Health Care patients and their families are built, maintained and staffed by the UI parking and transportation department.

Under the new program, the cost of providing free patient parking will be absorbed by UI Health Care. Patient fees will not be increased to cover the parking costs.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.