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The Medical Associates clinic at Main and 12th in the 1970s

MEDICAL ASSOCIATES CLINIC PC (THE). Medical Associates is Iowa's largest and oldest fully accredited multi-specialty clinic. Medical Associates was founded in 1924 by Drs. John B. HELES, Clarence LYNN, and Wayne A. JOHNSTON. The site of the first clinic was a house at 1200 Main. This building was renovated and expanded to eventually house twenty-eight physicians.

By 1974 a new clinic with 66,000 square feet of space was built at 1000 Langworthy next to St. Joseph's Unit of Mercy Health Center. The size of the staff was nearly doubled. This building was expanded in 1978 by 22,000 square feet.

In 1978 Medical Associates Foundation was established to encourage health research, wellness, and health education activities.

Events such as a Growing Family Fair showed the close relationship between Medical Associates and MERCY MEDICAL CENTER. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

The Pediatrics Department expanded by two departments in 1983. Adolescent Medicine worked with the problems of children aged 12 to 19. Physicians in this department divided their time between counseling and general health care. The new Well-Child Clinic was staffed by nurse practitioners who provided check-ups and immunizations to healthy children up to age 3. They also offered parents instruction in nutrition, social habits dental care and safety. A third expansion and modernization came in the Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility Department with more comfortable and private conferences and advanced pre-natal care. (1)

In 1989 Medical Associates employed 75 physicians and over 525 nurses and health care professionals. Through 1984 the clinic annually added from five to seven doctors and one new medical specialty. Satellite offices were opened throughout the tri-state region.

In December 1993, Medical Associates announced it had an option to purchase 100 acres of land east of the NORTHWEST ARTERIAL. The medical practice planned to build a 120,000 square-foot four-level facility. The musculoskeletal facility at Asbury Square would grow to 40,000 square feet. Plans for a 88,000 square-foot expansion proposed at the Langworthy location would be abandoned. (2)

The 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed 1940 Elm, 1000 Langworthy, and Sports Medicine (Medical Associates at 2255 John F. Kennedy Road.

In early January 1997 Finley, Medical Associates, and the Tri-States Physicians Association submitted an application to the Iowa Department of Public Health to bring a permanent hospital-based magnetic resonance imaging center (MRI) to Dubuque. The application suggested that the center would be the fourth busiest in Iowa and would lower the cost of each MRI by 23%. Finley and MERCY MEDICAL CENTER were at the time using a mobile MRI on a part-time basis as a contracted service. The proposed Finley MRI was to be housed in an attached hospital addition and could provide MRI services 24-hours daily. The cost of purchasing the equipment, construction, and installation was estimated at $2.3 million. (3)

Medical Associates claimed many of the area's "firsts" in health care. The area's first HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION (HMO) was opened by the clinic in 1982. The first walk-in emergency room, Acute Care Facility, was added in 1983. The same year the Midwest's first low-dosage radiation mammography equipment, used in the detection of breast cancer, was purchased by the clinic.

The West Campus of Medical Associates at 1500 Associates Drive was formally opened on May 17, 1997. (4)

Medical Associates announced "Same Day Appointment Scheduling" in 2005 in the Departments of Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Ophthalmology, and Orthopedics. (5)

In July, 2004 John Deere Company, based in Moline, Illinois announced it would end its 22-year health care program with Medical Associates. The company had created its own insurance plans--"Premier" and "Premier" Senior Care. Under the new arrangements, Medical Associates Clinic and Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque were replaced by FINLEY HOSPITAL (THE) and over 150 other providers in The Tri-State Independent Physicians Association of Dubuque. In October, 2004 Medical Associates announced plans to cut its work force as much as 8% and close offices and East Dubuque and Hanover. Deere had comprised between ten and fifteen percent of Medical Associates patients. (6) In 2007 Medical Associates announced that because of changes announced to their 2008 health benefits, John Deere salaries retirees who were Medicare eligible would be able to choose a Medical Associates Medicare plan that allowed them to see physicians at Medical Associates Clinic. (7)

In April 2011 Medical Associates introduced Patient Station, an online patient portal and personal health record. Using the program, a patient could link to all of their Medical Associates' physician and provider offices, request appointments and prescription refills, and communicate securely and directly with the physician and office staff through secure messaging. (8)

Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

The "we believe" roadway displays and newspaper advertisements became common sights. Such advertisements not only advertised the different medical departments but encouraged people to be more proactive about their health.

One of the keys to the success of Medical Associates has been its close working relationship with Mercy Medical Center. The physical closeness of the two separate organizations on Langworthy Street copied the working relationship as when the two jointly presented classes on such topics as "Childhood and Adult Asthma," "Joint Pain: Do You Have Arthritic Knee Pain?," and "Joint Pain: Knee Injuries and Repair" all presented at Mercy Hospital by physicians from Medical Associates. (9)

In 2014 with one of the first oncology practices in the United States, Medical Associates was one of only five practices in Iowa to be recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Certification Program. (10) The same year, Medical Associates advertised it offered the only cardiothoracic surgeons in the area. (11)

In 2017 Medical Associates served an estimated 385 businesses. The City of Dubuque had been a client for over thirty years and the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT for nearly as long. Small group plans were designed for businesses from two to fifty employees and large group for those over fifty employees. (12)

On June 2nd a new magnetic resonance imaging unit weighing 17,000 pounds was hoisted by crane and lowered through a temporary opening in the roof of the clinic at 1500 Associates Drive.. The General Electric SIGNA Artist, the new MRA machine, is the only one of its kind in the area and replaced one that had been used for fourteen years. In addition to improved imaging, the new machine would be quieter and allow for shorter scan times. The new technology featured flexible coils and acted like a blanket that could be wrapped around the portion of a body to be examined. (13)

In 2020 Medical Associates Health Plans were awarded the highest marks in both the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) annual star quality ratings and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Health Plan Ratings. For ten secutive years (2012-2021) Medical Associates Medicare health plans have been rated 4.5 stars or higher. For 2021, CMS rated 400 health plans (with Part C). Medical Associates was one of only two 5-star plans in the state of Iowa. Only 9 other medical plans in the nation received five stars. (14)

Medical Associates West Campus in 2010



1. "Medical Associates Adds, Expands Departments," Telegraph Herald, January 23, 1983, p. 16

2. Bergstrom, Kathy. "Clinic Seeks West-Side Site," Telegraph Herald, December 30, 1993, p. 1

3. Gwiasda, Susan B. "Prognosis: Finley's MRI Busy, Fee Lower," Telegraph Herald, January 22, 1997, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970122&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

4. Insert. Telegraph Herald, May 14, 1997. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970514&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

5. Advertisement, Telegraph Herald, January 2, 2005, p. 3

6. Kittle, M. D. "Finley: Hospital Ready for Deere Beneficiaries," Telegraph Herald, December 5, 2004, p. 15A

7. Advertisement, Telegraph Herald, November 4, 2007, p. 11

8. Medical Associates Clinic: Embracing the Brave New World of Healthcare Information Exchange," Julien's Journal, May 2013, p 49

9. "Community Education & Events, Sponsored by Mercy," Telegraph Herald, March 8, 2013, p. 8

10. Advertisement, Telegraph Herald, February 7, 2016, p 80

11. Advertisement, Telegraph Herald, January 22, 2016, p. 54

12. Salwolke, Scott, "35 Years of Healthy Efforts," bizTimes.biz, Dubuque, Iowa March, 2017

13. Montgomery, Jeff, "New MRI Unit a Massive Upgrade in Technology," Telegraph Herald, June 3, 2020, p. 5A

14. Robust, A Medical Associates Medicare Member Newsletter, Winter 2021, p 1