SwedishAmerican opens up new level III NICU unit

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A local hospital dedicates its level of care for newborn patients. 

On Monday, SwedishAmerican announced it will offer a Level III neonatal intensive care unit.

SwedishAmerican says this is something it has been working on for two years.

While they have previously been a Level IIE unit, now they’ll be able to provide care for babies born at less than 32 weeks gestation.

“Allows us to take care of infants of any gestational age and with a greater complexity of illness,” said President and CEO of SwedishAmerican Dr. Michael Born.

In addition to new equipment, Swedes spent three years training and adding staff members to meet the requirements for the status.

“Having the neonatologist, the pediatric sub-specialists available to evaluate and provide the care for these infants,” Dr. Born said. 

Alderman Ann Thompson-Kelly represents the Seventh Ward in west Rockford. She says many of her residents were concerned when Mercyhealth’s women and baby services were moved from Rockton Avenue.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of mothers, a lot of families that are more comfortable, that are at ease, that services are still within the city,” Thompson-Kelly said. 

Dr. Born says Swedes is committed to offering services to nearby residents in need.

“This strategy that we’ve been developing and executing is to recognize that all members of our community should have access to this level of care,” Dr. Born said. 

“I do appreciate the fact that this administration has it in the forefront and want to provide the services,” Thompson-Kelly said. 

The Level III NICU will have ten beds inside the existing hospital, but will be relocated in 2021 to the future women’s and children’s tower.

“They’ve been a fantastic partner and that service they recognize that is needed and they’re going to be providing it,” Thompson-Kelly said. “I’m really excited.”

Swedes newest addition comes after objections by Mercyhealth.

In a statement, Mercyhealth said:

“Mercyhealth is proud to have the region’s largest and most experienced Level III (highest level) NICU and the only State of Illinois-Designated Children’s Hospital in northern Illinois serving an 11-county region in Illinois and a 4-county region in southern Wisconsin. Families who stay in our 52-bed NICU are offered, right here in Rockford, the local expertise of 8 Neonatologists, 6 Nurse Practitioners, over 150 NICU Registered Nurses (RNs) and more than 52 pediatric subspecialists, which combined, offer an unmatched quality of care for our region’s most vulnerable babies. For Mercyhealth, it’s not a business decision, it’s a passion for miracles that is at the heart of what our NICU is about.”

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