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Thursday, June 12, 2008

UI Health Care prepares for flooding

Though St. Luke’s and Mercy hospitals in Cedar Rapids have lost their electrical power and their steam supply, the most recent communication from those facilities is that they do not anticipate they will transfer patients here or to other health care centers.

To prepare for the expected crest of flooding on the Iowa River next week, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is reviewing potential steps to increase our bed capacity, such as possibly canceling elective surgeries, accelerating patient discharges, and re-scheduling clinic visits. Those steps have not yet been taken, but they are under discussion.

The university believes that utilities to the hospitals and clinics can be maintained. The facility’s backup systems include:

-- Water: the tower along Hawkins Drive can meet the facility's needs for two days at full usage levels, more if rationing is instituted. There are also two access points to tie into the city’s water supply.

-- Electricity: backup generators have the capacity to meet essential power requirements.

-- Steam: A boiler was installed on the hospitals and clinics site for steam generation. Two portable steam-generating units are also being brought to the west side of campus to supply steam to facilities here, which would serve as a backup for UI Hospitals and Clinics.

-- Additional hospital supplies were ordered yesterday to ensure enough supplies are on hand.

UI Carver College of Medicine buildings are physically secure from river flooding except for one building on 1st Avenue in Coralville in which space is leased. That building has now been sand bagged.

At this point, no immediate threat is posed for utility services that feed the west campus.