Victoria hospitals seek higher designation of neonatal care

Laura Garcia By Laura Garcia

Dec. 26, 2017 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Dec. 27, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Naomi Ferrel, born four hours earlier at Citizens Medical Center, is checked by neonatologist Dr. Jeffrey Paul and neonatal nurse practitioner Marianna Measom.

Naomi Ferrel, born four hours earlier at Citizens Medical Center, is checked by neonatologist Dr. Jeffrey Paul and neonatal nurse practitioner Marianna Measom.   Laura Garcia for The Victoria Advocate

Citizens Medical Center plans to offer more comprehensive care for seriously ill newborns beginning Jan. 4.

Citizens Medical Center officials announced the pursuit of a higher level of designation in its neonatal intensive care unit during a hospital board meeting Dec. 20.

The county hospital will begin to offer 24/7 in-house coverage of neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners through its neonatal care provider, MEDNAX.

DeTar Hospital North started offering this higher level of care in September 2016.

George Parsley, chief operating officer, said a survey team from the American Academy of Pediatrics performed an on-site review at DeTar Hospital North to evaluate its application as a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Parsley said they expect to receive notice of accreditation in the first quarter of 2018.

In 2013, legislators signed House Bill 15 into law, which created new level-of-care designations based on neonatal and maternal services in Texas hospitals.

House Bill 3433 during the 84th Legislature amended the Health and Safety Code to require the designation for neonatal level of care as an eligibility requirement for Medicaid reimbursement beginning Sept. 1, 2018.

After that date, without a designation, a hospital could only receive Medicaid reimbursement for services in emergency situations.

Citizens Medical Center's Chief Executive Officer Mike Olson said he understands the importance of having an advanced level of medical care close to home.

"When my youngest daughter was born prematurely, she spent several weeks in a hospital NICU several hours from our home, and it was very challenging for our family," he said in an email.

"I'm pleased that we provide excellent care and expertise locally for our Victoria families," he added.


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