The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Driscoll Children’s Hospital has been designated a level IV NICU, the highest level of care available for premature and critically-ill newborns, by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). It is the first level IV NICU in South Texas to receive state designation.
Driscoll’s NICU was officially designated following a rigorous site visit conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ NICU Verification Program earlier this year.
“We are pleased that our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit received the level IV designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services. At Driscoll, we are proud to offer the highest level of care for the most fragile neonates in South Texas,” said Steve Woerner, President and CEO of Driscoll Health System.
And the team at Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s NICU rises to the occasion.
“I am so proud of our NICU team. This survey process gave us an opportunity to showcase the great work we do in the NICU. The success of our NICU is attributed to our experienced multidisciplinary team and neonatologists,” said Trish Carr, PhD, RNC-NIC, Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Driscoll Children’s Hospital.
“We feel very honored for the certification and are so appreciative at many levels for the teamwork from all the disciplines, ancillary and administrative staff that made this happen without any deficiencies,” said Miguel DeLeon, MD, Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.
“I am blessed to have such a remarkable NICU team. The collaborative efforts of our NICU medical/surgical, nursing and ancillary staff work in unison to provide the highest quality of care to our NICU patients locally and throughout the South Texas region each and every day. We are so proud of our level IV designation and grateful for the opportunity to display those efforts to the survey team,” said Chris Joyal, RN, BSN, CPN, NICU Director/Neonatal Program Manager for Driscoll Children’s Hospital.
“The NICU Levels of Care designation is important for Corpus Christi and South Texas families because it provides the assurance that comprehensive medical care is available for their premature or sick babies, right in their backyard,” said Carr. “Staying near home and family is a crucial part of the healing process.”
Driscoll Children’s Hospital serves an area of South Texas that covers 31 counties and 33,000 square miles, more than any level IV NICU in Texas. The American Academy of Pediatrics pointed out that Driscoll has “a very strong clinical network supported by unparalleled transportation resources.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics surveyors praised Driscoll for having a “highly commendable commitment to serve a disproportionately underserved and geographically-challenged catchment area.” They also said Driscoll has “a strong culture that empowers people throughout the neonatal team to move quickly from idea to implementation.”
Texas requires NICUs to undergo a site visit to verify the level of care provided to patients meets the neonatal Levels of Care classifications as defined in the Texas Administrative Code.
The Levels of Care legislation was passed in 2013 to ensure neonatal intensive care units have the resources and expertise to provide high-quality patient care that leads to the best outcomes for newborn patients and their families.
Driscoll Children’s Hospital is one of only 10 NICUs across Texas to receive their designation, thus far. Approximately 250 NICUs, ranging from level I to level IV, will need to obtain a designation before Sept. 1, 2018, in order to receive Medicaid reimbursement for neonatal services.
“As the largest level IV NICU in South Texas, Driscoll Children’s Hospital has a commitment to serve our community through quality, evidence-based medical care and to provide outreach education and support to our NICU partners,” said Carr.
To learn more about Driscoll Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, go to www.driscollchildrens.org/specialty/neonatal-intensive-care-unit-nicu.