WVU Hospitals Receive CON Approval to Move to Level IV NICU Status
Posted on 8/6/2021
MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – WVU Hospitals became the first hospital in West Virginia to receive Certificate of Need (CON) approval to move its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to WVU Medicine Children’s from Level III status to level IV status. The designation will take effect later this summer.
“This designation reinforces the fact that WVU Medicine Children’s is one of the best centers of care for medically fragile babies,” said Amy L. Bush, BSN, MBA, RN, CNOR, COO of WVU Medicine Children’s . “This recognition is important because it means families of critically ill babies do not have to travel far from home to receive the best care available. NICU doctors and nurses provide exceptional care to some of the sickest babies in the state and region.
According to the “Guidelines for Perinatal Care” published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, NICUs are classified as Levels I through IV, IV being the highest.
A Level I NICU, also known as a Healthy Newborn Nursery) is able to provide a basic level of care to healthy, low-risk newborns. A Level II NICU is a specialized level facility that can provide care for stable or moderately ill newborns who are born after 32 weeks gestation or who weigh more than 1500 grams at birth with problems that should resolve themselves. quickly and should not require urgent services at the subspecialty level.
Infants born less than 32 weeks gestation, weighing less than 1500 grams at birth, or having medical or surgical problems regardless of gestational age, should receive care in a Level III NICU, who should have pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists, neonatologists, neonatal nurses and respiratory therapists on staff and should be able to provide newborns with continuous assisted ventilation, perform on-site surgeries and have advanced imaging capabilities.
In addition to the requirements for Levels I through III, a Level IV NICU must also be located in a facility that has the capacity to provide surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions; maintain a full line of pediatric medicine subspecialists, pediatric surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists on site; facilitate transport; and provide outreach education.
“Babies born prematurely and those who are critically ill need highly specialized resources and 24/7 multidisciplinary care in order to have the most optimal outcome,” said Autumn Kiefer, MD, chief neonatal officer at WVU Medicine Children’s. “At WVU Medicine Children’s, we know that getting the right care, at the right time, in the right place is essential. This designation helps ensure that newborns are treated at the correct NICU level and thus receive high quality care.
The West Virginia Health Care Authority approved the certificate of need in April.
For more information on WVU Medicine Children’s, visit Childrens.WVUMedicine.org.