El Dorado, ARK. (Nov. 8, 2018) – Medical Center of South Arkansas (MCSA) announced today that it is joining the Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) Nursery Alliance in a move that will directly coordinate care between neonatologists at ACH’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and physicians at MCSA in El Dorado. The collaboration elevates neonatal care for the region’s newborns and addresses one of the state’s most vexing health problems: infant mortality. For every 1,000 babies born in the state, eight die before their first birthdays.

“You see here today the shared commitment of Medical Center of South Arkansas and Arkansas Children’s, and how we plan to change the story of infant mortality in this state” said Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s. “This is what a true partnership looks like when physicians, nurses and front-line staff come together across organizations to discuss needs and goals specific to each community. Together, we will improve children’s health in south Arkansas and beyond.”

Through the Arkansas Children’s Nursery Alliance agreement, ACH will support MCSA to help ensure the care families count on close to home will continue in the nursery. The arrangement will include formal processes for coordinating care prior to transport, including elevating care to a higher level if a baby’s condition requires it. In addition, families will have access to post discharge follow-up by monitoring and measuring late morbidities through an expanded High Risk Newborn Clinic network. 

The neonatal period is specific to the first four weeks after birth (neonate or newborn), a time when changes happen rapidly. Many critical changes can occur in this period: Feeding patterns are established; bonding between parents and infant begin; the risk of infections that may become more serious are higher; and many birth or congenital defects are first noted. This care is usually centered on newborn infants with a range of problems, varying between prematurity, birth defects, infection, cardiac malformations and surgical problems.

“Our focus is always on patient needs. This alliance builds on the care MCSA Women’s Center provides babies and moms,” said Scott Street, MCSA CEO. “We are proud to see the fulfillment of months of preparation and pleased to welcome Arkansas Children’s Nursery Alliance to MCSA.  We’re confident that together, we can better coordinate care between MCSA and ACH clinical staffs for the benefit or our tiny patients and their families.”

Through the alliance, neonatologists at ACH also will provide educational support, quality data review and implementation of best practices to physicians and staff at MCSA. The alliance also provides training

through telemedicine for the purpose of enhancing neonatal care and creates support as needed to help the babies at MCSA or at ACH get the best care possible.

MCSA Women’s Center has five labor, delivery and recovery rooms; 14 postpartum rooms and a 12-station well-baby nursery and specialty care nursery for 1500 gram babies or greater or 32-week babies.  The Women’s Center provides HUGS Infant Security for continuous monitoring of infants, a lactation consultant on staff and on-call and all obstetric nurses are trained in Advanced Fetal Monitoring. The staff is trained in neonatal resuscitation program (NRP), all nursery nurses are S.T.A.B.L.E. certified and the unit is Safe Sleep Certified.

MCSA is the fifth hospital member of the ACH Nursery Alliance, which was established in 2016 when Conway Regional Health System joined as the first hospital member. Arkansas Children’s Hospital operates the state’s only designated Level IV NICU (100 beds), the highest level of acute care, and has access to pediatric specialists from all disciplines.

About Medical Center of South Arkansas

Medical Center of South Arkansas, accredited by The Joint Commission, is a general acute-care hospital licensed by the Arkansas Department of Health. Our 166-bed facility's inpatient services include obstetrics and newborn care, pediatric care, intensive care, otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, general surgery, orthopedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, and many other specialties. Outpatient services include one-day surgery, speech therapy, physical and occupational therapies, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, wound care, gastroenterology laboratory, interventional radiology, MRI, CT and digital mammography. MCSA is an Accredited Chest Pain Center, Level III Trauma Center and provides AR Saves Stroke Telemedicine.  More details or to find a physician, go to www.theMedCenter.net.

About Arkansas Children’s

Arkansas Children’s, Inc. is the only health care system in the state solely dedicated to caring for children, which allows the organization to uniquely shape the landscape of pediatric care in Arkansas. The system includes a 336-bed hospital in Little Rock with the state’s only pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center, burn center, Level 4 neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care, and research institute as well as a nationally-recognized transport service. It is one of the 25 largest children’s hospitals in the United States and is nationally ranked by U.S. News World & Report in cardiology/heart surgery, neurology/neurosurgery, nephrology and pulmonology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale includes 233,613 square feet of inpatient beds, emergency care, clinic rooms and diagnostic services. Arkansas Children’s also blankets the state with outreach programs that include telemedicine, mobile health and school-based health solutions. A private nonprofit, Arkansas Children’s boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking research and is committed to providing every child with access to the best care available, regardless of location or resources. Founded as an orphanage, Arkansas Children’s has championed children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow for more than 100 years. For more info, visit www.archildrens.org.