UnityPoint Health continues to recruit needed doctors

As president of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge, I take immense responsibility in ensuring comprehensive healthcare services are available for everyone right here in Fort Dodge and our surrounding communities. Sharing the news of Iowa Heart’s termination of their agreement to provide 24/7 interventional cardiology on-call services with us was disappointing.

As a nurse I understand the lifesaving efforts that happen in our Emergency Department every day and not just during regular business hours. We have several specialists that provide on-call services so that if a patient arrives after 5 p.m. on weekdays, a weekend, or a holiday they get the specialty care they need as quickly as possible. I want you to know we are doing everything we can to find physicians to provide this on-call coverage for interventional cardiology following Oct. 19, which is when our agreement with Iowa Heart will end.

Iowa Heart shared the reason they are ending the agreement is due to limited staffing. Recruiting and retaining specialty physicians in rural Iowa is not easy. There is a physician shortage in the United States that has left many gaps in rural communities like ours. As I hear stories through my role on the American Hospital Association Advisory Board, we are not alone.

Right now, patients can continue to come to the Emergency Department at Trinity Regional Medical Center and will receive the care they need. Iowa Heart will continue to provide the on-call coverage for interventional cardiology through Oct. 19. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to recruit new cardiologists to our organization. We know this will not be easy.

I feel it is my duty to try everything we can here locally to recruit doctors to provide this service. We are blessed to be a part of the UnityPoint Health system that provides support in changes like this. We have cardiology teams in Waterloo, Des Moines and Sioux City to name just a few — and we will work together with them to help solve this issue. In fact, we have already started the recruiting process for cardiologists.

UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge cares about our community. Our family and friends live here. Many of us grew up here; some like me are here by choice because we feel Fort Dodge is a special place and we want to continue to make it a great place to live, which includes ensuring comprehensive healthcare services. For those in this community that support us, I want to say, thank you! Please know everything we do is with you in mind — to improve the health of the people and communities we serve.

We agree this change with Iowa Heart is disappointing. But we want you to know that we plan to do everything possible to fill the gap. Thank you for your patience as our plans come together.

Leah Glasgo is president of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge.


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