You Make a Difference in Internal Medicine

The University of Iowa Health Care Making a Difference program is designed to recognize individuals who have performed in an exemplary manner, consistent with the goals of service excellence, and with a commitment to quality care.

Over the last few months, members of our department were nominated by colleagues, patients, and patient family members for a variety of actions that have had a major impact. (One member, as you will see below, has been nominated twice since our last post.) Recognizing others is fast and easy with the Making a Difference nomination form.

Alick Feng, MD
Nominated by: M.F., patient

I just want to take a moment and recognize Dr. Feng for providing me with excellent care in the Allergy/Immunology clinic. I am admittedly not the most compliant patient, and he explained in a straightforward and effective way that a simple medication combination could make a big difference in my symptoms. I have tried it, and it has made a huge difference for me. He also took the time to acknowledge and thank me as a healthcare worker and made me feel like my time was valuable. Thank you, Dr. Feng, for making a difference for me. I am truly grateful.

Katie Halbmaier, DNP, ARNP, FNP‐BC
Nominated by: K.B. and M.B., patient’s family

My husband and I are nominating Katie Halbmaier, DNP, ARNP, FNP‐BC, for the Making A Difference Award, to recognize her actions in improving my husband’s health and her exemplary demonstration of the WECARE values. My husband is a complex (transplant) patient, requiring care from many different specialties across UIHC. He recently began seeing Katie less than one year ago. She worked diligently to assist us with an acute healthcare problem requiring in‐person visits, many MyChart messages, and even a couple days in the hospital. She also referred him to a specialist for a chronic problem, with great results. Katie does an excellent job at follow‐up and takes action when needed. This demonstrates the “Excellence” WECARE value perfectly. Another value she demonstrates is “Collaboration.” She voluntarily connected us with a more appropriate provider in another department who was able to assess my husband’s health more precisely and ensure we were seeing a provider who is more experienced with treating my husband’s conditions. He was able to address acute needs and validate the appropriateness of medications being utilized. Katie has gathered his PCP, transplant providers, nephrology, and HVC to all communicate during an acute event, and made sure all of the care providers had an opinion and consensus on the care needed. Katie also demonstrates both “Welcoming” and “Respect.” She is always welcoming of our questions and explains things in a way we can easily understand. Katie is also a great listener. We really appreciate the expertise and collaboration that Katie has brought to my husband’s healthcare team; her actions have resulted in measurable, positive impacts to his health. I am also a UIHC employee, and I am extremely proud that we have people like Katie on our team.

Doug Laux, MD, MS
Nominated by: Jerri Ranson, Staff Member

Dr Laux had a patient from earlier in his clinic day that had a brain imaging report become final with poor results. Dr Laux called the patient back to clinic, determined the situation to be unsafe and that patient needed evaluated in the emergency department. Dr Laux escorted the patient and this RN to the emergency department to assure everyone involved that if an emergency happened on the way he would be present and able to assist. Dr Laux assisted this RN to get the patient checked in to the emergency department and assured this RN was OK to get back to clinic on her own after hours. Dr Laux showed compassion and expertise to a patient and his family as well to this RN after hours. Dr Laux offered presence and guidance at a time everyone present felt uncertain. Dr Laux is an excellent example of the kindness and compassion we show all patients.

Melinda Johnson, MD; Alan Gunderson, MD; Karen Brust, MD
Joe Salomone, MD, PhD; Lola Saliu, MD

Nominated by R.B., patient’s family

l am writing to express my profound appreciation for the treatment my son received recently at UIHC. He was admitted for a series of fairly serious medical problems. During his hospitalization, several members of your staff, residents, medical students, and nurses, participated in his treatment. The problems were diagnosed and expeditiously addressed, resulting in their resolution and his discharge. The care and concern of everyone involved mirrored their professional skills. They all took the time to explain procedures and results completely, to answer all questions he and I had, to treat him as someone whose well-being was their utmost concern. This eased his anxiety and enabled him to stay optimistic during his stay. Thanks for that.

We owe the following people an enormous debt of gratitude:

Staff Physicians: Dr. Melinda Johnson, Dr. Alan Gunderson, Dr. Karen Brust
Internal Medicine Residents: Dr. Joe Salomone, Dr. Lola Saliu
Medical Students: Matthew Engelken, Peter Sanchez
Nurses: Victoria Lake, McKenzie Elsbury

Again, our heartfelt thanks. As a Ul alum, I’ve never been prouder of my alma mater.

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