Lehigh Valley Health Network Neonatal ICU Achieves Highest Level Classification
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital—Cedar Crest was reclassified recently as a level IV unit, according to standards set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
“Our NICU is the only unit in the Lehigh Valley that meets the standards for the most advanced NICUs set by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Fetus and Newborn,” says J. Nathan Hagstrom, MD, chair of pediatrics at Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital.
AAP level IV classification reflects a facility’s ability to provide immediate, on-site pediatric surgery, pediatric anesthesia and pediatric medical specialists for complex and congenital conditions, in addition to the services of a level III unit.
“We care for the tiniest and most fragile infants, as well as provide surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions,” Hagstrom says. “Our experienced pediatric surgeons, pediatric surgical subspecialists, and pediatric medical specialists are available to our patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our babies and their families do not need to travel out of the area to get the care that they need; they can stay right here at home. No other hospital or health network in the region provides care this advanced or qualifies for level IV status.”
Established in 2000, the NICU at LVH—Cedar Crest has grown from 18 beds to 40 beds and treats 650 premature or critically ill newborns each year. The unit had been classified as level III by providing specialty care for large volumes of infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation, or with complex medical or surgical needs.
The network also operates a level II NICU at LVH—Muhlenberg and a level III NICU at LVH—Pocono. Both units have urgent access to the medical and surgical subspecialists, as well as the neonatologists at LVH—Cedar Crest via the neonatal transport team.