Region’s premiere children’s medical center earns Level IV NICU care designation, providing un-matched full service care to newborns
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Dell Children’s Medical Center has received designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) as one of only 12 accredited Level IV neonatal intensive care units in the state, offering the highest level of care available for Central Texas’ most critically ill babies.
The only Level IV NICU program in the region that is part of a full service standalone children’s hospital, Dell Children’s provides newborns and their families a robust level of care for the most complex cases.
“This designation highlights our commitment to providing a full scope of medical and surgical services to newborns who need specialized care,” said John Loyd, MD, Chief of Neonatology at Dell Children’s.
Dell Children’s is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.
State of Texas legislation now requires all NICUs undergo an accreditation process to ensure they meet the level of care per the American Academy of Pediatrics perinatal guidelines. Level IV is the highest possible rating on a scale of I-IV, requiring a full array of onsite subspecialists.
What is a Level IV NICU?
As a Level IV NICU, Dell Children’s multidisciplinary team of neonatologists, nurses and respiratory therapists and other health care professionals is specially equipped to offer a full spectrum of medical and surgical care, right here in Austin.
The healthcare needs of a newborn can range from needing just a little extra expert care and monitoring, to requiring more advanced interventions including newborns who:
- Are premature (born at least three weeks earlier than the due date)
- Experience complications during birth
- Have birth defects
- Suffer from a contagious illness or drug-related problem
The leader in pediatric healthcare for Central Texas
Serving a 46-county area, Dell Children’s continues a decade of providing comprehensive specialty care, improving the health and wellness of Central Texas children:
- Dell Children’s remains the only Pediatric Level I Trauma Center in Central Texas, allowing families access to specialty care, closer to home.
- Dell Children’s continues to bring clinical trials and research to Central Texas children and families, offering innovative treatments and cures.
- In 2016, a world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon joined Dell Children’s Regional Heart Center, providing the latest in surgical technique for some of the most complex heart conditions.
- This year, convenient access to Dell Children’s world-class pediatric emergency care expanded to Seton Northwest Hospital, Seton Southwest Hospital, Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock and Providence Healthcare Network in Waco.
- In 2018, the hospital will open the Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit, a new 24-bed unit that will help treat help treat conditions like eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Meeting stringent standards
The NICU accreditation process involves an extensive on-site survey and a comprehensive program review by Texas Perinatal Services.
To gain the official Level IV designation, Dell Children’s NICU had to meet a range of stringent standards in areas such as quality and safety, patient care, and staffing. These standards include having:
- A highly-skilled staff and trained pediatric medical and surgical specialists able to treat the most complex cases
- The capability to perform emergency surgery on newborns
- A certified lactation consultant available around the clock
- And other requirements