The good news just keeps coming for Rockford's Swedish American Hospital.

The health system, which is a partner of UW Health, got the news that they received approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to establish a new neonatal intensive care unit. Swede's currently functions a Level 2 E NICU, or special care nursery, which means they are able take care of infant's born at 32 weeks gestation or greater that weigh at least 1250 grams, which is about 2lbs. 7oz. As of right now, babies that don't meet these requirements are transferred to a different hospital for a higher level of care. Pretty soon they will get to stay with their mom's at Swede's which is better for everyone.

Although there has been some uproar in the community regarding a second level 3 NICU being built in Rockford, Swede's has backing from the new mayor, as well as several other city and state officials. And who doesn't like to have options when it comes to healthcare? I know I do. Rockford has multiple options when it comes to other health services such as cancer, cardiology, emergency care, etc. The city of Chicago alone has 9 Level 3 NICU's to choose from. I think this will be great for our community. Also, the new NICU will remain in central Rockford which is easily accessible to the community.

Good News for Families, Rockford Getting a Second NICU


Currently, there is no Level 4 NICU in Rockford, so babies from both Level 3 NICU's would still need to be transferred out to either Chicago or Madison if they required that level of care.

"This will prevent our patients from being transferred away from their hospital, physicians, and staff whom they have entrusted with their care," -Paula Culvey, manager of the Special Care Nursery at Swedish American.

The Level 3 unit is set to open in 2020 along with the 4-story building for a new women's and children's unit. However, it could open even before construction on the new building is completed. CEO Bill Gorski had this to say, "We see our role in the community as providing these critical services to folks who otherwise might not be able to access them. The way the environment in our community is changing, we see that role is ours to embrace."

Congratulations Swede's. I wish you luck on your venture to help improve neonatal services in our community.

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