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CONTACT: DIANA LUNDELL
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Iowa City IA 52242
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e-mail: diana-lundell@uiowa.edu

Release: June 14, 2002

UI Hospitals and Clinics changing guidelines to enhance bed availability

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics officials announced today that the provision of complimentary lodging and meals at the medical center will be limited to participants in the state's indigent patient care program.

Officials began sending letters to affected patients today to inform them that the new guidelines will take effect on July 1. The change affects Medicaid patients who come to UI Hospitals and Clinics for a clinic visit. The guidelines affecting those patients are now consistent with those that apply to all other payers. Participants in the state's indigent patient care program will still be eligible to receive complimentary lodging and meals at UI Hospitals and Clinics. The new guidelines will enhance the capacity of the medical center to care for seriously ill patients by helping to free up beds across the institution.

Medicaid patients who use UI Hospitals and Clinics' transportation to travel to Iowa City for their appointments are not required to use hospital provided transportation. Those patients will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own lodging and meals under the new guidelines. Patients may prefer to use alternative transportation, such as a private vehicle driven by family members or friends, in order to avoid an overnight stay.

Hospitals officials say that staff members are continuing to care for a high number of patients with very complex needs and that this move will help ensure that beds are generally available to care for those seriously ill patients. In addition, cuts in the state appropriation and reimbursements have also made it necessary to reduce expenses.

Approximately 40 to 50 patients with Medicaid coverage currently receive complimentary lodging and meals at UI Hospitals and Clinics weekly at an annual cost of about $250,000. Those patients might be eligible to receive reimbursement for their lodging meals and/or travel during their hospital visits if they receive prior approval from the Iowa Department of Human Services-Medicaid.

The Code of the State of Iowa mandates the provision of complimentary transportation, lodging and meals to participants in the indigent patient care program. State law requires that Medicaid patients be allowed to travel to UI Hospitals and Clinics in vans provided by the medical center.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.