Residents of the Cedar Valley don't have to travel far for excellent care.
With a sophisticated, wide-ranging network of facilities and providers within minutes of where they live, residents rarely have to leave the area for even specialty treatment. Cancer, stroke, heart disease, chronic illnesses, special surgery and specialties such as maternity and newborn care can all be found right here.
“We are very fortunate to have excellent health care outcomes and choices in the Cedar Valley area,” says Pam Delagardelle, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health-Waterloo and UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital. “You really don’t have to leave the Cedar Valley unless a rare condition or event means you have to be treated at an academic medical center.”
UnityPoint Health, which operates hospitals, clinics and home care in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, is among the Cedar Valley’s health care giants. Leading its presence are Allen Hospital and the Allen Hospital Heart & Vascular Center, named in an IBM Watson study as one of the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in the nation in 2022. UnityPoint in Waterloo also operates Allen College, which offers degree programs in various health care specialties and nursing.
“We are very fortunate to have excellent health care outcomes and choices in the Cedar Valley area.”
Pam Delagardelle, UnityPoint Health
“One of our hallmarks is trying to get people to the right location for the right care at the right time,” Delagardelle says.
To this end, UnityPoint Health created Express clinics — designed right down to the placement of their doors — to expedite treatment, encouraging patients to seek treatment more readily if they don’t have to spend hours in the waiting room. Currently, there are five Express clinics in the Cedar Valley.
“They are amazing,” Delagardelle says. “We piloted them in the Cedar Valley, and now they are all over the state. You can literally reserve a time online, see a provider, get your tests done, get your prescription and be out of there in 30 minutes.”
MercyOne maintains its own comprehensive health care network, which in Northeast Iowa includes three hospitals, 24 clinics and other services throughout an eight-county area.
“We made a commitment decades ago to try to at least make primary care and outpatient services available to as many people as possible,” says Jack Dusenbery, MercyOne Northeast Iowa president. “We’re pretty spread out across the region from our largest location, MercyOne Medical Center in Waterloo, to small rural communities where we have outpatient providers and perhaps rotating specialists who come a few days a week.”
MercyOne gets high marks for its maternity services — named in U.S. News & World Report’s debut list of the nation’s Best Hospitals for Maternity — and is celebrated for its cardiac and cancer care, both of which allow patients to receive treatment close to home.
As residents of the Cedar Valley can tell you, the best medicine is the medicine you find close to home, and the region’s access to care continues to evolve. For example, Grundy County Memorial Hospital marked its 70th anniversary in 2022 by breaking ground on a $30 million project to improve its surgery, laboratory and imaging departments. Just as impressive, Waverly Health Center just completed its $36 million expansion project with a new emergency department and enhanced family clinics. Buchanan County Health Center, a full-service hospital, also recently expanded to include more outpatient services for ears, nose & throat (ENT).
The area is well served when it comes to medical specialties outside of the hospital or clinic care. For example, the Surgery Center at United Medical Park in Waterloo is the only ambulatory surgery center in the Cedar Valley. Here patients may choose high-quality, lower-cost, same-day surgical procedures in 10 different specialties.
Care for eyes and ears can be hard to find in many places, but the Cedar Valley enjoys excellent close-to-home options. Advanced Family Eye Care, New View Family Eye Care, Eye Care Associates of New Hampton and Wolfe Optical Clinic all provide top-notch vision care for all ages.
The Cedar Valley Center for Hearing offers hearing evaluations and hearing aid, and other services and Concept by Iowa Hearing is another leader in customized hearing solutions. To top it off, Greenwood Pharmacy and Compounding Center, as well as Meyer Pharmacy in Waverly, offers traditional pharmacy services and products and specialty compounding.
If you’d like to learn more about the Cedar Valley area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Cedar Valley, Iowa.