Covenant Children’s receives highest designation from State for

Covenant Children’s receives highest designation from State for Neonatal Care

Posted: Updated:
LUBBOCK, Texas -

(Press Release)

On Tuesday, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Covenant Children’s Hospital received designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) as a level IV NICU, the highest level of care available for premature and critically-ill newborns. The hospital was officially designated following an in-depth site visit conducted by the Texas EMS Trauma & Acute Care Foundations’ NICU Verification Program.

Texas is one of the first states in the country requiring NICUs to undergo a site visit to verify that the level of care provided to patients, meets the Neonatal Levels of Care classifications. In the past, hospitals were able to self-report their level of care – with research showing that many hospitals over reported the level of care they provided. In 2013, the Texas Legislature required DSHS to establish and implement a neonatal and maternal level of care designations, with the aim of ensuring designated facilities have the resources and expertise in order to achieve the best outcomes for newborn patients and their families. Beginning Sept 1, 2018 designation is a requirement to receive Medicaid funding.

A level IV NICU designated facility has the ability to care for infants born earlier than 32 weeks gestation and weighing less than 1,500 grams, or 3.3 pounds, in addition to having the ability to provide life support, perform advanced imaging, including MRI and echocardiography, and provide a full range of respiratory support, among many other criteria. All the requirements are anchored around a Quality and Performance Improvement Program that ensures that neonatal patients are provided the highest level of care possible, consistent with current standards of care set by national organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Pre-mature babies are an extremely vulnerable population. They require a high level of resources and expertise to care for appropriately,” Chief Executive Officer Dr. Amy Thompson said. “Our level IV NICU designation demonstrates our commitment to elevating pediatric care in our region. Covenant Children’s is thrilled by the State’s recognition of the neonatal level of care that we provide.”

“We urge pregnant women, particularly high-risk mothers-to-be, to know about the neonatal and pediatric care provided at the facility they chose to deliver their child at should, god forbid, they require such services,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kerri Pinkney said. “We provide the full gamut of care for women, neonates, infants, and pediatric populations. We are the only hospital in the region with an Obstetric/Labor and Delivery Emergency Department and 24/7 OB/GYN Hospitalist program – that ensures patients are seen by an OB/GYN if again, god forbid, something go wrong during pregnancy and the patient’s primary OB/GYN be unable to attend to the patient.”

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