Fort Worth, TX,
11:28 AM

Cook Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Receives Level IV Designation

Texas Department of State Health Services recognizes NICU for providing highest level of care

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cook Children’s Medical Center is the first NICU in North Texas to be recognized as a Level IV center, meaning it can provide the highest level of neonatal care to critically-ill infants. The designation was made by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in response to House Bill 15 of the 83rd Texas Legislature.

In the absence of state-led standards, DSHS was tasked with developing criteria for designating levels of neonatal and maternal care. This includes specifying the minimum requirements for each level, one through four. Any NICU in Texas that receives Medicaid reimbursements must undergo this designation process by September 2018 in order to continue collecting Medicaid funds. Cook Children’s NICU was one of the first NICUs in the state to be reviewed.

“While all NICUs help babies who need extra care, Level IV NICUs care for the most critical and vulnerable infants,” said Jonathan Nedrelow, M.D., neonatologist and medical director of the NICU at Cook Children’s Medical Center. “This designation reinforces the fact that Cook Children’s is among the best care centers in Texas for medically-fragile babies.”

Cook Children’s Level IV NICU provides:
  • Comprehensive care for infants born at all gestational ages and birth weights with critical illnesses.
  • Surgical repair for complex congenital or acquired conditions.
  • A full range of pediatric subspecialties and surgical specialists.
  • Access to high-risk infant follow-up care through the NEST program once babies are discharged.
  • Ability to transport critically-ill babies via aircraft.
  • Outreach education to lower-level facilities.
  • Single rooms so parents can comfortably stay with their babies.

“Cook Children’s NICU is the only Level IV NICU in Tarrant County,” said Sheralyn Hartline, director of the NICU at Cook Children’s Medical Center. “This recognition is significant because it means families of critically ill babies don’t have to travel far from home to receive the best care available. The physicians and nurses at Cook Children’s NICU provide exceptional care for the some of the sickest babies in Texas and across the United States.”

Find the requirements for a Neonatal Designation Level IV, according to Texas Administrative Code, here. For more information on House Bill 15, please visit the Texas Health and Human Services website.

Learn More About Cook Children's NICU
No one ever wants to think about their newborn being critically ill. But it's good to be as prepared as possible, so if you do have to make such choices, we'll help you be well-informed. Start by asking your doctor about what type of treatment your baby may need. Then ask which NICU has the best equipment and staff to provide that care. You may want to research and learn about the differences between each one. For example, only Cook Children's NICU offers all single rooms, specially designed so that babies can receive the highest level of care and parents can comfortably stay with their babies as much as they like. Your OB/GYN or pediatrician may also be good sources of NICU information. 

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