Support our health care heroes in the battle against COVID-19

Letter to the Editor:

Support our health care heroes in the battle against COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt worldwide. As a nation, and in Iowa, we have witnessed the impact on families, communities and our way of life.

At MercyOne, one of Iowa’s largest health care systems with more than 20,000 colleagues and 420 care locations, we are also experiencing unprecedented challenges. While we prepare to meet the needs of an increasing number of COVID-19 patients, the health care industry has been required to eliminate elective services as a result of this pandemic, which is more than 50% of our regular business. We have repositioned our facilities and teams to serve as a public health system to defeat COVID-19. All of this, however, has not changed our commitment to serving the needs and improving the health of our communities.

This unprecedented shift in how we do business is not without its difficulties. Like other industries, our hospitals and clinics need economic assistance to fund our fight against COVID-19 to source supplies which are needed in quantities and at a cost no one could have ever predicted and to re-direct our structure in a matter of weeks to meet our communities’ needs for testing, monitoring and care against a new threat. At the same time, the dramatic decreases in routine patient visits and care are causing financial hardships on already-fragile hospitals in rural Iowa, not to mention negative impacts on our urban facilities.

Meeting the needs of our communities is only possible with the dedication of many heroes. We thank our caregiving teams for their resolve, courage and commitment to stop this virus and for helping those most in need.

We are thankful for the leadership, commitment and collaboration of our Governor and her staff as well as the State Legislature, Iowa Department of Public Health and many emergency preparedness teams across Iowa. These partnerships are crucial in securing much needed COVID-19 funding, testing and supplies.

Lastly, we are appreciative of Senators Ernst and Grassley, along with Representatives Axne, Finkenauer, King and Loebsack, for their hard work in advancing the disaster relief packages, such as recent legislation designed to stabilize the economic impact COVID-19 has had on businesses and people. The health care industry is thankful to be included in this much needed relief package to ensure we can meet the challenges in front of us. As we monitor this pandemic day-by-day, our industry will likely need to call on Congress, yet again, to stop this virus and focus on recovery efforts.

MercyOne remains unwavering in our commitment to deliver high-quality, compassionate care during this most difficult time. Like everyone, we look forward to returning to our normal lifestyles. In the meantime, share a message of support with your health care and essential worker heroes, continue to practice social distancing and please stay home when possible.

Thank you for the privilege to serve you, Iowa. We look forward to brighter days ahead.

Bob Ritz

President and Chief Executive



Jack Dusenberry

President, MercyOne Northeast Iowa

Beth Hughes

President, MercyOne Western Iowa

Karl Keeler

President, MercyOne Central Iowa

Rod Schlader

President, MercyOne North Iowa

Kay Takes

President, MercyOne Eastern Iowa