OMHS to open neonatal intensive care unit


    OWENSBORO, KY (June 23, 2009)—Owensboro Medical Health System and Neonatal Associates with the University of Louisville Physicians group have formed a partnership to expand the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at OMHS. The expanded medical services for newborns will add a board certified neonatologist and neonatal nurse practitioners to practice fulltime in Owensboro. Services will begin in early 2010.

    The NICU at OMHS will be equipped to care for babies with short-term illnesses and other medical conditions, such as those who require respiratory support for underdeveloped lungs. Many babies with low birth weight or born prematurely will also be able to receive neonatal care at OMHS.

    Each year, OMHS transfers about 50 pregnant women to other hospitals due to anticipated need for neonatal services once their babies are born. Another 50 or so babies are transferred after they are born to hospitals that provide neonatal intensive care.

    “Opening our neonatal unit will provide more options in patient care for newborns and enable their families to stay near home and have the support of their friends and loved ones,” said Ashley Denton, a registered nurse and manager of nursery services for OMHS. “Expanding our services to offer neonatal care for newborns is a change to help us improve healthcare quality.”

    The partnership will include access to all neonatal specialists in the Louisville-based group. In addition, OMHS also offers patient care through the UofL Health Care remote presence robot network. Consultations with physician specialists—including pediatric subspecialists at UofL Health Care—can be set up in minutes through a secure Internet connection.

    “We’re excited about this relationship with Owensboro Medical Health System,” said UofL professor Dan Stewart, president of Neonatal Associates. “We want to keep babies close to their homes, families and primary care physicians when possible. If they need more specialized care, we will utilize the advanced technologies available at OMHS and if necessary, the babies will be transported to Kosair Children’s Hospital or the hospital of the parent’s choice until they are stabilized and ready to return to the Owensboro area.”

    “By providing higher levels of care for newborns, we expect our number of patient transfers for babies to drop,” said Manilal Shah, MD, a pediatrician and chief of pediatrics at OMHS. “We’re excited about the additional care we will soon be able to offer infants and newborns.”

    Owensboro Medical Health System serves an 11-county region in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The hospital received the HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award in 2009, placing it among the top five percent of hospitals in the nation for quality. OMHS is a full-service hospital, employing a workforce of over 3,100. In addition to hospital and rehabilitation services, OMHS includes the HealthPark – a medical-based fitness center – home health services, a wound healing center, three outpatient diagnostic centers, the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center and the McAuley Clinic, which provides healthcare for the uninsured. OMHS also operates Convenient Care, Pennyrile Pulmonary Critical Care and Western Kentucky Rheumatology Center, Owensboro; and MultiCare in Madisonville and Tell City (IN).

    UofL Health Care is a comprehensive medical treatment, research and services organization, combining the extraordinary resources of University Hospital, the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and University of Louisville Physicians. Based in Louisville, UofL Health Care operates the second largest remote presence robotic network in the country and has partnerships with hospitals throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. For more information, visit