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Expanded NICU at Saint Agnes

Children's offers regional Level III neonatal intensive care at the Madera campus in our 88-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which features 21 private and semi-private rooms.

Neonates and infants in our regional Level III NICU receive the highest level of care available between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Children's Hospital physicians and staff also provide intermediate neonatal intensive care in NICUs at partner hospitals in the region:

  • six-bed unit at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno
  • eight-bed unit at Mercy Medical Center in Merced
  • four-bed unit at Central Valley General Hospital in Hanford

NICUIn addition to the Level II unit at Saint Agnes, this long-standing satellite location now offers a community Level III NICU, allowing more babies delivered at Saint Agnes who require a higher level of care to stay in the same hospital as their mothers. Mothers and babies benefit from our perinatologists and pediatric subspecialists partnering with obstetricians throughout the region to provide them with high-quality, comprehensive care.

Equipped to Provide the Best

Our NICU provides lifesaving care for medically fragile infants of all risk categories — especially neonates less than 32 weeks and infants less than 1,500 grams.

Neonates and infants in our regional Level III NICU benefit from:

  • 24-hour coverage by board certified neonatologists
  • consultations from pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists
  • our superior outcomes with neonates less than 1,500 grams (3 lb. 5 oz.) that consistently surpass other Level III centers in the state
  • our low adjusted mortality rate for this population that consistently ranks 3 percent lower than the California average for like centers

Committed to Expanding Services

To better serve our patients Children’s Hospital now:

  • provides a community Level III NICU in the same location as a birthing center
  • features added space, beds, equipment and staffing at our NICU at Saint Agnes Medical Center
  • offers expand an eight-bed community Level III NICU in addition to our six-bed Level II NICU
  • doubles the amount of care we provide at Saint Agnes from 1,250 patient days a year to a forecasted 2,500 annual patient days by 2016, three years from our November 2013 opening

Creating the unit required an investment of $1.3 million to remodel an existing neuro-ICU and purchase equipment to meet the specific needs of the Maternal Fetal Center and the high-risk mothers and babies it treats.

Staffing and Equipment Needs

  • 24/7 coverage by perinatologists for inpatient mothers
  • neonatal nurse practitioner present in the unit when neonatologist is away
  • staffing ratio of one nurse per patient or every two patients depending on severity of the baby’s medical condition
  • respiratory therapists to support the baby’s breathing
  • occupational and speech therapists to teach babies to breathe, swallow and suck
  • other staff and supplies such as pharmacy, imaging, cardiac testing and laboratory testing
  • specialized equipment to support our Level III NICU
  • resources to expand donor breast milk, family-centered care and developmental care programs

Sustaining the Level III unit will cost an incremental $2.4 million in year one, forecasted to grow to $3.7 million by year five, not including overhead and other program costs such as the outpatient Maternal Fetal Center.

Invested in Enhancing Care

Tremendous uncertainty surrounds the level of funding government and private insurers will provide for services in the future. In order to raise $5 million to support the initial investment and ongoing operations, we need help from members of our community.

To invest in the community Level III NICU at Saint Agnes, please contact the Foundation at 559-353-7100 or Your investment will help Children’s and Saint Agnes continue to offer, expand and improve the high-quality, comprehensive healthcare we provide every day.