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Advanced Care Here at Home

In September 2014, Mercy and University of Iowa Health Care announced a new relationship that will bring enhanced care to Cedar Rapids for newborn babies.

Mercy Neonatologist, Dr. Roger Allen, will be joined by University of Iowa Children’s Hospital neonatologists, who will provide on-site patient care and medical leadership at Mercy’s NICU. This ensures that access to Iowa’s highest-level neonatal experts, working side-by-side with Mercy’s NICU team, begins immediately at birth. UI Children’s Hospital is home to Iowa’s highest-level NICU with outcomes among the best in the nation for premature infants.

Roger Allen, MD

A Full Continuum of High-Risk Birth Care

“Our focus remains on family-centered care for our community. We’re pleased to be able to offer this ‘first’ for Cedar Rapids by enhancing our services with a full continuum of high-risk birth care in collaboration with University of Iowa Health Care. As a team, we’re prepared to provide our babies with the very best care possible with direct access to University neonatologists, as well as the University’s latest, evidence-based protocols.” 

— Roger Allen, MD, Mercy Neonatologist

Better Together

Why are Mercy Cedar Rapids and University of Iowa Health Care working together?

This new relationship is a natural extension of our strong, existing relationship. UI Health Care is home to nationally ranked pediatric and women’s health programs, with neonatal outcomes among the best in the United States. By offering these specialized services in Cedar Rapids, the UI and Mercy teams can work together to provide the region’s most advanced care – close to home.

Is this a merger?

No, Mercy and UI Health Care are not merging. We are both part of the University of Iowa Health Alliance, which enables us and other leading health systems in Iowa to work together to provide:

  • Improved access
  • Better health
  • Lower costs

What's changing?

Working with Mercy’s neonatologist and NICU staff, UI Children’s Hospital neonatologists will now provide on-site patient care and medical leadership at Mercy’s NICU.

How does this benefit patients?

Mercy’s neonatologist, Dr. Roger Allen, as well as the Mercy NICU staff, will have direct access to UI Children’s Hospital neonatologists and the UI’s latest research and educational guidelines to ensure the best possible outcome for every baby. Access to Iowa’s highest-level neonatal experts, working side-by-side with Mercy’s NICU team, will begin immediately at birth. The first hour of life for a very low birth weight baby is often called "the golden hour," because it is so important to a baby's future.

Does this mean Mercy’s NICU can take care of younger or sicker newborns?

All NICUs care for babies who need special help, but different NICUs offer different levels of care. UI Children’s Hospital is home to a Level IV NICU — the highest level recognized nationally by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The NICU at UI Children’s Hospital is equipped to care for the tiniest and most critically ill babies, offering the greatest range of neonatal services and support and better outcomes. Survival rates for babies born at 23, 24 and 25 weeks are significantly higher than survival rates for extremely premature babies born at other U.S. hospitals, placing UI Children’s Hospital among the top neonatal intensive care providers anywhere.

We hope that your pregnancy and delivery go smoothly, but if the unexpected should occur, take comfort knowing that, for the first time in Cedar Rapids, you have immediate access to a team of nationally ranked neonatology experts.

Will Mercy’s neonatologist, Dr. Roger Allen, still care for babies in the Mercy NICU?

Yes. Dr. Allen will continue to serve as Mercy’s primary neonatologist and consult with UI Children’s Hospital neonatologists as necessary.

If my baby needs more advanced care, where will he or she go?

Our shared goal is the health and safety of every baby. If more advanced care is necessary, a premature or sick baby would be transferred to UI Children's Hospital in Iowa City. Last year, less than one percent of babies born at Mercy were transferred to UI Children’s Hospital.

Will I stay at Mercy if my baby is transferred to the U?

If your baby is transferred, our goal is to allow you to take an active role in your baby’s care as soon as possible.  Once you are discharged from Mercy, the neonatologists and staff at UI Children’s Hospital will include you as a critical part of your child’s care team.

Is UI Children’s Hospital staff on-site in Mercy’s NICU?

Mercy neonatologists will have direct access to neonatologists at UI Children’s Hospital at all times, including face-to-face care in Cedar Rapids for patients at Mercy.

Will I be billed by Mercy and by UI Children’s Hospital?

When your baby is in the Mercy NICU, all charges will be billed through Mercy Medical Center, even when UI Children’s Hospital neonatologists are involved. If you or your baby would need to be transferred to Iowa City, UI Health Care would bill you directly for those services.

Will my insurance cover care by a UI Children’s Hospital neonatologist?

This depends on each family’s insurance coverage but, generally speaking, UI Children’s Hospital neonatology services are included with nearly all major insurance payors. When UI Children’s Hospital neonatologists are billing for services at Mercy, they will do so under the terms of Mercy’s contracts with insurance companies.