The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children's Medical Center (www.childrens.com) has been designated a Level IV NICU, the highest qualification for such programs, as established by the American Academy of Pediatrics under newly revised standards.
Children's offers the most advanced medical care for the most complex and critically ill newborns of any of the three facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to achieve this status. Children's also is the only hospital in the area with a NICU program academically affiliated with UT Southwestern Medical Center.
With its new designation, Children's offers a regional NICU program going beyond the capabilities of other hospitals by performing surgical repairs on site of complex congenital or acquired conditions; maintaining a full range of pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists at the hospital 24 hours a day; facilitating transport and providing outreach education.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its standards for NICUs, creating a Level IV designation for hospitals providing the most specialized care for newborns.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics' Level IV designation is important as it recognizes the highest level of care for neonates that is provided in the Children's NICU," said Dr. Rashmin Savani, division director of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Children's and UT Southwestern Medical Center. "There is a close partnership between UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children's to provide the excellence in neonatal and other subspecialty care needed for such a designation."
"This is a highly coordinated system that goes from the FETAL Program through the newborn period," said Savani, who is also a professor of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern. "Our Level IV NICU provides the support needed by Level III NICUs in north Texas and beyond that have babies needing a higher level of care. This allows concentration of the best imaging, equipment, trained and experienced personnel and the highest level of subspecialty care available."
"The Level IV designation was created to help the community and families understand where the highest level of specialty care for newborns is offered," said Dr. James Moore, medical director of the Children's NICU and an associate professor of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern.
"The support that these complex babies out in the community need is available here at Children's," Moore said. "One of the things I am very proud of at Children's is that we provide these services, but believe in family-centered care. Part of that is returning the babies to their home institutions so the family can have their own support networks once the baby is stable enough to be in that environment. I'm proud that we've always provided that, but now we have a way to designate what we are capable of," Moore said.
"The Children's NICU program has admitted more than 400 babies so far this year," said Lisa Mason, clinical director of Children's Neonatal and Perinatal Services.
"We are the only hospital in Dallas-Fort Worth that does not ever have to send a baby to another hospital because the breadth of our specialty services is so robust," Mason said. "We offer the highest level of care."
Children's Medical Center