Many hospitals have Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), but not all NICUs are the same.
Texas Children’s Newborn Center is one of the only level IV NICUs in the Houston region that is able to provide babies with the highest level of care. In fact, many area hospitals with less advanced NICUs transfer infants to us when more experience and specialized care is required.
The American Academy of Pediatrics differentiates between units by defining levels of care based on the complexity of medical conditions the facility is equipped to treat. We hope this will help you better understand the different levels of care in the NICU:
Level I: Regular nursery care available at most hospitals that deliver babies
Level II: Intensive care for sick and premature infants
Level III: Comprehensive care for more seriously ill newborns
Level IV: Major surgery, surgical repair of serious congenital heart and anomalies that require cardiopulmonary bypass and/or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for medical conditions. Level IV units include the capabilities of level III with additional capabilities and considerable experience in the care of the most complex and critically ill newborn infants and should have pediatric medical and pediatric surgical specialty consultants continuously available 24 hours a day.
Many area hospitals have level II or III NICUs, but are not equipped to provide the most advanced level of care some newborns need. Our combined level II and III NICUs offer specialty care for newborns. An additional level IV NICU located across the connecting bridge gives babies more extensive support and access to dozens of pediatric subspecialists.
Texas Children’s Newborn Center was recently ranked no. 2 in this year’s U.S. News & World Report survey, a gain from last year’s no. 17 ranking. As you know, U.S. News ranks the top 50 pediatric centers in 10 specialty areas, so being recognized within the top two is no small feat.
Our commitment to improving neonatal outcomes is really something to be proud of, and I am grateful that our diligent efforts are making a positive impact in the lives of so many babies.