Research Medical Center
January 22, 2019

When an infant is born at Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC), staff will now have access to neonatal intensive care specialists if needed. Advanced telemedicine technology, which has audio-visual connection will allow our providers to connect with neonatology specialists to examine infants in real time and assess treatment and the need, if any, for transfer. This care is made possible through a new collaborative partnership with neonatology specialists at Sunflower Neonatology Associates and Research Medical Center, part of HCA Midwest Health.

“This is a wonderful addition to an already strong birthing program at WMMC,” said Darinda Reberry, WMMC President and Chief Executive Officer. “In cases where a birth is predictably high risk, the mother usually delivers in a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit on site. However, many high-risk births are not predictable, and we are now in a better position to treat a high-risk baby when it is born.”

Medical conditions that might warrant use of the teleneonatology unit include prematurity, low birth weight, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital malformations (birth defects), sepsis, pulmonary hypoplasia, and birth asphyxias.

“WMMC’s Birthing Center delivers nearly 700 babies a year,” says Kelly Vignery, RN, Obstetrics Manager. “We are very fortunate to have this service in our community to enhance the capabilities available to these babies.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Western Missouri Medical Center to offer this new, potentially life-saving technology, while enhancing an excellent birthing program at this hospital,” says Jackie DeSouza-Van Blaricum, President and Chief Executive Officer at Research Medical Center. “We know that nationally, on average, ten percent of newborns require breathing assistance and 1% may need resuscitation. So offering this critical service in the patient’s hometown hospital and in their own community helps to avoid transferring newborns, and importantly keeps the mother and baby together.”

“As one of the eight neonatologists at Sunflower Neonatology Associates, we are very excited and proud to partner with the hospital for this service, and humbled to be a part of their medical staff family,” says Tiffany Simpson, MD, neonatologist and Medical Director at Research Medical Center and Centerpoint Medical Center’s Tele-Neonatology programs. “Neonatal tele-health service enables community hospitals to avoid transferring ill newborns who can be safely cared for at their home hospital. We utilize a video connection with highly experienced clinical teams at the bedside. These teams provide hands-on care for the newborn and may be guided through procedures by the neonatologists. Our specialists provide our combined years of experience of caring for neonates, and expertise in caring for newborns that are delivered at this community hospital, when previously this was not possible.”

To schedule a tour of WMMC’s Birthing Center or to learn more, call (660) 262-7514.