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Spokane NICU receives Level IV designation

March 18, 2014

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Spokane, WA—The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital has received a Level IV designation, the highest level of care for premature and critically ill newborns recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The Level IV status was granted by Washington State, acknowledging that the hospital met all AAP Perinatal and Neonatal Level of Care Guidelines. Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital is the second facility in the state to achieve this status.

“Babies who are born prematurely or with critical illness have immediate needs for highly specialized resources and experienced staff for optimal outcomes,” says Keith Georgeson, MD, Children’s Hospital Division Chief. “Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital is proud to offer this highest level of complex neonatal care.”

The AAP’s updated NICU classifications consist of four levels, beginning with basic care (level I), specialty care (level II), subspecialty intensive care (Level III) and the new advanced subspecialty (level IV).

Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital previously held a Level III designation which required: providing life support; care for infants born earlier than 32 weeks gestation and weighing less than 1500 grams (just over 3 pounds); advanced imaging including MRI and echocardiography; and a full range of respiratory support, among other criteria.

NICUs with a Level IV designation must meet Level III capabilities, plus:

  • be located within an institution capable of providing surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions;
  • maintain a full range of pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical subspecialists, and pediatric anesthesiologists who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and
  • facilitate transport and provide outreach education.

Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital’s 61-bed NICU offers experienced physicians in all medical and surgical subspecialties, pediatric anesthesiology, pharmacy and nutrition, as well as the most advanced imaging services available. The highly-trained neonatal nursing staff rounds out a multidisciplinary team prepared to handle even the most complex infant care.

The Children’s Hospital thrives on the synergy of being part of a large tertiary medical center serving the expansive Inland Northwest. With an established maternal-fetal medicine program and top-notch neonatal care, Providence works hand-in-hand with regional physicians — to create healthier communities together.