UnityPoint Health - Iowa Methodist Medical Center - Emergency Department



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For life-threatening conditions that require emergency medical care, call 911.

Emergency Care at Iowa Methodist Medical Center

The emergency department at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, a service of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, is dedicated to providing the best care for you and your family when you need it most. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Iowa Methodist Medical center is a verified Level I Adult Trauma Center and our pediatric emergency department at Blank Children's Hospital is a verified Level II Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma.

As the only Adult Level I Trauma Center in Central Iowa, and just one of two designated Level 1 in the state, Iowa Methodist Medical Center's Emergency Department has the resources and specialized team to care for patients with the most serious, life-threatening injuries.

Hours of Operation

  • Monday: Open 24 hours
  • Tuesday: Open 24 hours
  • Wednesday: Open 24 hours
  • Thursday: Open 24 hours
  • Friday: Open 24 hours
  • Saturday: Open 24 hours
  • Sunday: Open 24 hours

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Emergency Department Features

The adult emergency department at Iowa Methodist Medical Center is available for all types of trauma and medical emergencies. All staff are specially trained in cardiac, chest pain, stroke and trauma care.

  • 26 adult treatment rooms
  • Two trauma rooms
  • One behavioral health treatment room
  • Dedicated resuscitation room 
  • 10 rapid assessment treatment areas
  • Designated sexual assault room
  • CT scanner and imaging located within the emergency department
  • Designated negative pressure area for quarantining highly infectious disease patients
  • Enhanced security for patients, families and staff

Level I Trauma Center

As a Level I Trauma Center, Iowa Methodist has the specialists, the experience and the equipment necessary to save lives in an emergency. To be a Level I Trauma Center, it takes a team approach to patient care. The trauma team includes members from many departments such as:

  • Adult and Pediatric Emergency Departments
  • Blood Bank
  • Critical Care and Pediatric Intensive Care Units
  • Emergency Communication Center
  • General Nursing Floors
  • Laboratory
  • Life Flight
  • Pastoral Care (Chaplains)
  • Physiatry
  • Radiology
  • Public Safety
  • Social Services and Case Management
  • Surgery
  • Trauma Research Department
  • Younker Rehabilitation Center

When a trauma patient arrives, these team members are already preparing for their arrival. Patients are evaluated and treated simultaneously and expeditiously. Team members remain with the patient until transferred from the emergency department to the operating room, critical care unit or surgical floor. The trauma team is a surgeon-led multidisciplinary team that continues to care for the critically injured patients during their hospital stay. The team is a surgeon-led multidisciplinary team where every team member contributes to patient care through daily collaboration and team visits.

Trauma Clinical Practice Guidelines

Trauma Education

Rural Trauma Team Development Course (RTTDC)

79 out of 99 Iowa counties are considered rural and 75% of all EMS in Iowa are volunteer. The Rural Trauma Team Development Course helps educate rural hospitals on current trauma education by drawing on the principles of ATLS, TNCC and PHTLS. This course emphasizes communication and teamwork as the backbone of effective patient care. This is a full day course with CME, CE and CEH's available.

View more information about the Rural Trauma Team Development Course.

Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness (DMEP)

The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS COT) recognizes that a mass casualty event is not just another busy night in an urban trauma center. Most providers have little or no background or experience in such circumstances. To fill this gap, the Committee on Trauma has developed this course to help hospital staff develop the necessary skills, understand the language and appreciate the structural transformation for effective response to mass casualties in disasters. This program is designed to stimulate thinking about how to become better prepared as individuals, professionals, organizations and healthcare systems. This is a full day course with CME, CE and CEH's available.

View more information about the Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness course.

Stop the Bleed

The Stop the Bleed program focuses on how to turn bystanders into first responders at any event. During mass casualty incidents, responders may be delayed due to safety concerns, weather hazards or other unforeseen circumstances. The critical time between injury and definitive care is what this course focuses on. Bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death after injury.

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)

The American College of Surgeons and its Committee on Trauma (COT) has developed the ATLS program for doctors. This program provides systemic and concise training for the early care of trauma patients. The ATLS program provides participants with a safe, reliable method for immediate management of the injured patient and the basic knowledge necessary to:

  • Assess the patient's condition rapidly and accurately
  • Resuscitate and stabilize the patient according to priority
  • Determine if the patient's needs exceed a facility's capacity
  • Arrange appropriately for the patient's inter-hospital transfer (who, what, when and how)
  • Assure that optimum care is provided and that the level of care does not deteriorate at any point during the evaluation, resuscitation or transfer process
Trauma Nursing Core Course

The first few minutes of trauma care are critical to achieving better patient outcomes. The ENA Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) is widely recognized as the premier course for hospitals and trauma centers worldwide, empowering nurses with the knowledge, critical thinking skills and hands-on training to provide expert care for trauma patients.

Blank Children's Hospital Programs

Our partners at Blank Children's Hospital Center for Advocacy & Outreach offer numerous programs on injury prevention. Some of these programs include:

  • Fire safety
  • Car seat safety
  • Safe Kids
  • Teen driving
  • Bike safety
  • Window safety and child abuse prevention.


As a Level I Trauma Center, Iowa Methodist Medical Center is dedicated to research and scholarly activities in the area of traumatic injury. Studies have shown that patient outcomes are improved if an organized trauma system includes interaction between basic research and clinical care. Our research program seeks to advance clinical knowledge but also to optimize and improve the care of injured patients. 

What Type of Appointment Do I Need?

Primary Care

Primary Care encompasses the comprehensive treatment of a number of diseases in symptoms and specialties including pediatrics, internal medicine and family medicine. Rather than specializing in one particular area of medicine, the physician is trained to meet all the needs of patients as one point of contact. Examples of symptoms and conditions treated by a primary care provider can include:

  • Minor medical problems and injuries
  • Physicals/Sports Physicals
  • Medicine Checks
  • Long Term Care
  • Medication Refill
  • Ongoing Symptoms (ex: Continued Back Pain)
  • Care or Treatment Planning
  • Disease Management
  • Managing Existing Conditions (Migraines, Depression, Anxiety, Arthritis, etc.)
  • Substance Abuse
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Skin problems
Walk-In Care

Urgent Care and Express treat minor medical problems and injuries that are not life-threatening, but need the attention of a health care provider. These are not an alternative to the emergency room, but offer the ability to get walk-in care without an appointment for all patient ages. Urgent Care is available after hours, weekends and holidays. Our Urgent Care Clinics can provide medical treatment for minor illness and injuries such as:

  • Allergies
  • Burns
  • Colds
  • Coughs
  • Cuts (Stitches)
  • Earaches or Ear Infections
  • Fevers
  • Minor Medical Problems and Injuries
  • Minor Eye Care
  • Flu
  • Fractures (X-Ray On-Site at Most Locations)
  • Infections
  • Sore Throats
  • Sprains, Including Sprained Ankles (X-Ray On-Site at Most Locations)
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Yeast Infections
  • Certain Rapid Tests

Please note: Flu shots, physicals and/or sports physicals are not offered at every walk-in care location.

*If you are experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath, please go to the Emergency Department or call 911 immediately. For less serious medical issues, such as physicals, medication refills or to leave a message for your primary care doctor, you can access your My UnityPoint patient portal 24/7!

Virtual Care

Connect with a UnityPoint Health provider online using MyUnityPoint to access virtual urgent care or SmartExam. Virtual care doctors can diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication when necessary for commonly treated conditions. Available every day, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for individuals 2 years and older located in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Virtual care should be used for minor, common ailments and illnesses. Some examples, and the qualifying age to receive virtual care or SmartExam for that condition, include: 

Condition Virtual Urgent Care SmartExam
Acne 2+ 2+
Burn 2+ 2+
Cold/Flu 2+ 2+
Cold Sores 13+ 18+
Constipation 2+ 18+
Cough/Upper Respiratory Infection 2+ 18+
Diarrhea 2+ 18+
Fever 2+ 18+
Head Lice 2+ 2+
Heartburn 2+ 18+
Headache/Migraine 18+ 18+
Joint Pan 2+ 18+
Rash 2+ 18+
Red Eye 2+ 2+
Sinuses 2+ 2+
Sore Throat 2+ 18+
Urinary Tract Infection 13+ (female only) 18+
Vaginal Infection (yeast/bacterial vaginosis) 18+ 18+
Vomiting 2+ 18+

Emergency Care

Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for severe or life-threatening conditions. Conditions that require emergency care include excessive bleeding, broken bones, chest pain or trouble breathing. Emergency services include diagnostic testing and access to specialists. 

Examples of symptoms and conditions treated by emergency departments can include:

  • Symptoms of a heart attack, including severe chest pain, sweating and shortness of breath.
  • Profuse bleeding or blood loss that continues even after direct pressure has been placed on the wound.
  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, loss of coordination, balance or vision problems, which are signs of stroke.
  • High fever and vomiting that continues nonstop for several hours.
  • Signs of meningitis for adults: severe headaches, neck/joint pain and stiffness, vomiting, high temperature, sensitivity to light or babies and small children: high-pitched whimpering/crying, lethargy, fussiness, restlessness, high fever, vomiting, cold extremities, refusing food, pale or blotchy skin.
  • Seizures lasting longer than five minutes.
  • Injuries occurring from an accident or fall - intense back or neck pain, obvious compound fractures and/or dislocations of bones, deep cuts and severe burns.