Two years ago, the Iowa Board of Regents gave Iowa City-based University of Iowa permission to construct a 469,000-square-foot hospital in North Liberty. Administrators have now confirmed that the system plans to move "the majority" of its orthopedic and sports medicine program to the new facility, according to a Sept. 27 report from The Gazette.
The university expects to begin moving into the facility in 2024, with appointments beginning in 2025.
In the university's first application for the facility, it wrote that "orthopedic surgery would account for a significant portion of the initial service mix." It said that 32 of 36 inpatient beds would have orthopedic ties.
The university's application faced criticism from community healthcare providers, who accused it of veering outside of its care lane. The state council denied the initial application for that reason.
The university then stripped any mention of orthopedics from the second application and had the facility approved.
In 2021, when asked if orthopedics would remain central to the new facility, a university spokesperson told The Gazette, "Our plans for this facility remain flexible as we continue to evaluate and determine which clinical specialties will be offered on the new campus based on patient demand."
Since that time, Iowa City-based Steindler Orthopedic Clinic began constructing a $29.3 million facility just one and a half miles west of the University of Iowa's new site.
The new university site will offer full orthopedic, sports medicine and rehabilitation services, including surgery, inpatient services, labs, imaging and pharmaceutical services.
Once the orthopedic and sports medicine department relocates from its current location, the spaces will be used to expand critical, complex care; medical education; and research.
The university originally budgeted $395 million for the new facility, but administrators returned to the board and raised the cost 33 percent, to $525.6 million, citing inflation, workforce and supply chain challenges.