Cook Children’s Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit is the first named NICU in North Texas to receive a Level IV designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The recognition came as the result of House Bill 15 of the 83rd Texas Legislature.
A Level IV center is the highest level of neonatal care that can be provided to critically ill infants. Cook’s designation marks the beginning of a DSHS initiative to develop criteria for ranking levels of neonatal and maternal care, given the absence of state-led standards. Specific requirements must be met for each of the four levels.
If any NICU in Texas intends to continue receiving Medicaid reimbursements, DSHS says, it will be required to undergo the designation process by September 2018. Cook Children’s was one of the first NICUs in Texas to be reviewed.
Dr. Jonathan Nedrelow, neonatologist and medical director of Cook Children’s NICU, says the designation reinforces Cook Children’s ability to be one of the best care centers in Texas for medically fragile babies, since “Level IV NICUs are where the most critical and vulnerable infants” are treated.
Cook Children’s provides a number of services at its NICU, including comprehensive care, surgical repair, pediatric sub-specialties, education outreach programs, and emergency aircraft transportation services.