MUSCATINE, Iowa–46 years ago, a group of Muscatine area business people interested in promoting local healthcare worked together to create more office space for physicians in Muscatine County. Their efforts led to the creation of the UnityPoint Clinic on Mulberry, which houses a variety of primary care and specialty clinics that serve patients throughout Muscatine County. Throughout the clinic’s history, the Muscatine Health Support Fund, now administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, has owned the space and leased it long term to UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine, with the rent returning to the community in the form of healthcare related grants.
In order to keep the clinic in good repair and to help it adapt to advances in medical technology and patient care techniques, the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine announced on April 23 that they plan to build a new building for the UnityPoint Clinic on Mulberry. Community Foundation Executive Director Charla Schafer stated, “the Mulberry Clinic building has served the community well over its long history, but it is aging and is in need of replacement or significant upgrade.”
With the goals of continuing to provide integrated care between the hospital and clinics, and to better accommodate advances in medical technology, Schafer detailed the new clinic building: “We anticipate changes will include a rebuild and moderate expansion of the clinic building, with continued attachment to the hospital.”
Currently, neither the Community Foundation nor the hospital has announced an official start date for the project or provided finalized plans for the upgrades. However, they anticipate the whole renovation process will take between one and a half and two years.
Both expect that the final space they plan to build will benefit the community in several ways. “We are continuing our focus on providing the best patient experience possible as well as the highest quality care, and these changes will help us with those goals, said Trinity Muscatine Executive Director, Angie Johnson. In January, the hospital undertook planned updates to the inpatient wing as well.
“Just as the focus was in 1975, it is imperative to maintain our community focus on health, ensure the continued local presence of quality primary health care in our community, and improve recruitment and retention of health care professionals to our rural community,” added Schafer.
Johnson and Schafer also hope that continued investment in the clinics will attract and keep additional medical professionals to the county. Since February 2020, Trinity Muscatine has put its labor and delivery services on hold due to a shortage of obstetricians. Though neither addressed this shortage specifically, both thought that the improved facilities would lead to an overall increase in local primary care providers. “We believe the Clinic will serve to support and enhance the continued recruitment of talented health care providers to Muscatine County, said Schafer.”
As the Community Foundation and the hospital work together to finalize plans for the physician clinic building, Johnson and Schafer shared their faith in the project’s potential: “It is very exciting to provide the infrastructure complimenting the high quality patient care delivered by our physicians and team members each and every day. This infrastructure will meet the needs of our community today and into the future as our community grows and changes.”
“We look forward to continuing to play a partnership role in ensuring a sustained local presence of quality primary health care in our community, and to continue the vision that reflects the leadership and caring hearts from the past that have helped shape Muscatine,” Schafer chimed in.