SALEM, Va. – LewisGale Medical Center announced the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recently approved its Certificate of Public Need (COPN) for a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). LewisGale had been seeking approval to provide intensive care unit level services to babies in Salem since 2011.
“After 12 years of vigorously pursuing all possible avenues to secure approval to open a NICU at LewisGale Medical Center for the families and communities we serve, we are excited the Virginia Health Commissioner has approved our COPN application,” said Lance Jones, market president.
The NICU will provide critical care to newborns who are ill or premature. Many factors may lead to a newborn being admitted to the NICU, including low birth weight or complications during delivery. The NICU staff will work closely with parents to develop a treatment plan for their newborn.
“Opening a NICU is the latest example of our commitment to expanding our women’s and children’s services to meet the maternal and child needs of our growing community,” said John Harding, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist at LewisGale Medical Center. “We already have a positive reputation for our comfortable birth center amenities, our flexible and individual approach to birth plans, and our outstanding medical staff. We can now add a planned state-of-the-art neonatal care to that list.”
Virginia Senator David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke County), who wrote and carried the legislation that exempted a NICU at LewisGale from the COPN process, has long supported efforts to being a NICU to LewisGale as has Senator John Edwards (D- Roanoke) other state and local legislators.
“Mothers who delivered in Salem have been needlessly separated from their newborn babies needing intensive care unit services. Today represents a great step in getting us closer to keeping mothers with their babies during such an important time,” said Virginia Senator David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke County).
“We are grateful for the overwhelming support from our board of directors, as well as members of the public, patients, physicians, legislators, and local and state government,” said Jones. “LewisGale Medical Center remains fully and passionately committed to providing NICU services and will provide a standard of care that is routinely available to patients in other parts of Virginia.”