Frequently Asked Questions about Getting the Care You Need During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Even during the pandemic, you should get the health care you need from your UI Health Care provider. That includes appointments with your primary care provider when you’re not feeling well and necessary appointments for any specialty care you receive.

Learn more about what UI Health Care is doing to keep you safe while receiving care

We know you have questions about your safety when coming to our locations. We’ve tried to address as many of them as possible here. You can also contact us for more information.

Isn’t it important to stay home and avoid contact with other people during the pandemic?

It is important. Avoiding contact with others—like social distancing and only leaving home for essential trips—helps reduce your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. But if you delay getting the essential care or treatment you need, you may also be putting yourself at risk.

The pandemic shouldn’t prevent you from getting the care you need. If you don’t feel well, or if you know you’re overdue for ongoing specialty care, you should contact your doctor to talk about your options and the right timing for you.

If I’m not feeling well, will my doctor require me to go to the hospital?

You have control of how you get the care you need. The first step is to contact us and request an appointment. You and your doctor will work together to decide what’s right for you. That could be an in-person visit, telehealth video visit, or a telehealth phone visit.

In some cases, you and your doctor may decide that the best thing for you is an in-person visit. Your doctor knows that safety is our highest priority at UI Hospitals & Clinics—it may be one of the safest public places you can visit during the pandemic. But you always have a say in what happens next.

What if the hospital is crowded?

Due to the precaution people are taking during the pandemic to stay home, we do not have as many people in our hospitals and clinics at this time. We’ve taken numerous steps to minimize the number of people in the hospital. If you’ve had to go anywhere in public recently, compare that experience to visiting UI Hospitals & Clinics, where:

  • Everyone who enters is screened for COVID-19 symptoms and fever.
  • Everyone is encouraged and reminded to stay 6 feet apart at all times.
  • The number of people in our facilities is limited due to temporary restrictions of visitors.
  • Public spaces like cafeterias and waiting rooms have signs and floor markings to remind people to keep 6 feet apart, and chairs have been moved apart.
  • All patients and visitors are encouraged to wear their own masks, and we have instructions for wearing your mask.
  • All employees have been given special protective face shields to wear, and employees who work with patients have also been given masks to wear under their face shields.
  • Hand hygiene stations are available for everyone to use throughout all of our facilities.
  • We have crews of employees whose only job is to keep the hospitals and clinics clean, and they’ve received special extra training for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces during this time of heightened precautions.

It’s understandable to be worried about going out in public. Another added safety measure we have at UI Hospitals & Clinics is an excellent team of epidemiologists who specialize in keeping the hospital safe, and they have guided us in our safety efforts with their expertise.

If people who are sick with COVID-19 are being treated at the hospital, doesn’t going to the hospital put me at risk of getting COVID-19?

Because COVID-19 is shared from person to person, safety precautions should be followed every time you’re in public, to protect yourself and to protect others around you.

Our safety measures help make UI Hospitals & Clinics among the safest public places you can visit, and there are additional things you can do like social distance, wash your hands, and wear a face mask or covering.

Our cleaning staff has received special extra training for cleaning and disinfecting common-touch surfaces. Also, we have safety measures in place to help minimize the risk of exposure, including social distancing, masks and face shields for all employees, hand hygiene stations for everyone to use, and screening for fever and symptoms of illness at our entrances.

You will never come into contact with a patient who we know has COVID-19. The vast majority of our patients do not have COVID-19. Those who have or are suspected to have COVID-19 are in clinics, units, or rooms that are isolated from others.

If you continue to have concerns, please talk with your provider.

Are there other ways for me to get my health care?

We offer telehealth video visits and phone calls for many patients. You can use your MyChart account to request a telehealth visit.

If you don’t have your free MyChart account yet, it’s easy to get started and begin using MyChart on your mobile device or computer today.

In addition to telehealth video visits, MyChart also lets you send messages to your doctor, schedule and manage appointments, check in to your appointments from home, view test results, get prescriptions filled, and more.

If you need to see a Family Medicine provider who you’d normally see at our main UI Hospitals & Clinics location, all of those appointments have been moved to UI Health Care–Iowa River Landing, conveniently located near I-80 in Coralville.

Do I need to bring a face mask?

All patients and visitors are encouraged to wear their own cloth face mask or covering, as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Patients who arrive at our facilities for care who do not have their own face mask will be provided with a medical-grade mask. If the patient arrives with their own cloth mask, they may continue to wear it. (They will not be asked to remove their mask and put on a new one.)

UI Health Care is seeking donations and purchasing additional cloth masks with the goal of being able to provide cloth face masks to staff and patients who need one in the near future.

You can visit the CDC website on cloth face coverings, and here are video instructions for wearing your mask.

Do you have enough protection equipment for your staff?

There is great responsibility both to keep our staff and patients safe and to make sure we’re caring for the Iowans who need us for their essential health care.

We’re following national and statewide guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE), and currently we have enough supplies. That said, there are national shortages of this equipment, and all hospitals remain vulnerable.

In order to have enough supplies, UI Health Care continues to monitor and conserve the use of PPE. We’re also creating new ways to extend the use of the PPE we have while remaining in line with CDC guidance. Also, we’re able to quickly modify the number of patients we treat or procedures we perform if our levels of PPE fall short. This may cause unexpected inconvenience, but it’s part of our commitment to safety above all.

Also, our staff has received extra safety communication and training so they know how to use the equipment and measures to stay safe and keep each other and our patients safe.