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Miami Valley Hospital to Expand Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Critical driver of expansion is rise in premature babies born in Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio, April 23, 2007 - Miami Valley Hospital today announced a $19 million renovation and expansion of its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Construction of the 51,000 square foot project will begin early next month and will be completed in the spring of 2009.

“Our mission is to deliver the best-quality health care we can to our tiniest patients. The enhancement of our NICU ensures that our focus remains on providing the very best medical services to parents and their premature infants,” said Mary Boosalis, president and CEO of Miami Valley Hospital. “Furthermore, our intention is to ensure privacy for families during a stressful time is top of mind.”

Miami Valley’s obstetrical service is a regional referral center for high risk maternity patients for a 17-county area. Last year, 788 infants were cared for in the NICU.

In the United States, pre-maturity has been identified as a leading cause of neonatal death within the first month of life and the leading cause of death among African- American infants. Between 1994 and 2004, the rate of infants born preterm increased nearly 13 percent, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

“The steady increase in premature infant births in Ohio requires our continual focus on improving MVH’s NICU to meet rising demand,” said Marc Belcastro, MD, medical director for the hospital’s neonatology program and clinical assistant professor at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. The new facility will feature a state-of-the-art unit in which premature infants can thrive in our nurturing environment facilitated by new private rooms.”

The design of the new unit incorporates recent research that has shown neonatal intensive care units should mirror the effects of the womb by monitoring light, noise and temperature.

The existing NICU is a Level III facility, located on two floors of the Berry Women’s Health Center. Currently, the unit consists of 22,000 square-feet and is home to 49 bassinets arranged in an open environment. The newly designed facility will increase to 60 beds, all of them within private rooms that will create more privacy and space for families.

Currently, Miami Valley Hospital’s Level III NICU is the only one in the region that combines labor/delivery and neonatal intensive care in one convenient location. Miami Valley Hospital’s obstetrics program is full-service and meets the needs of both high-risk mothers and premature infants in one facility. No other area medical facility offers this critical component for newborns, parents and their provider teams.

“Our mission is to ensure that parents and caregivers can remain close to their infant to promote critical bonding that contributes to overall development,” said Dr. Belcastro. “Expecting mothers and their physicians can rest assured that Miami Valley Hospital offers the best neonatal intensive care experience in that regard.”

Jiri Sonek, MD RDMS, medical director of The Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Ultrasound and Genetics and a clinical professor at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, said, “The number of at-risk pregnancies, which include multiple gestations and gestations affected by diabetes and hypertensive disorders, has climbed steadily over the years. All of these factors increase the risk of preterm birth. This expansion ensures that Miami Valley Hospital is the appropriate facility for at-risk mothers-to-be and their infants. Knowing MVH has taken the necessary step to enhance its neonatal intensive makes it all the more appealing.”