Tacoma General wins high level designation for infant care unit

Tacoma General Hospital’s newly expanded neonatal intensive care unit has earned a Level IV designation from the Washington State Department of Health, the highest level for newborn care.

The designation is the highest of any South Sound hospital. Tacoma’s St. Joseph Hospital’s neonatal unit is designated Level III. St. Joseph and its sister hospitals have an alliance with Seattle Children’s Hospital for care of the most critically ill newborns. Seattle Children’s neonatal unit is designated Level IV.

“Our NICU takes care of newborns from all over the region who require round-the-clock care by our expert nurses and providers,” said Lisa Strom, chief operating officer at Tacoma General.

Tacoma General expanded and improved its neonatal unit as part of a $192 million improvement program. That expanded NICU with 40 Level IV and 30 Level II beds, opened earlier this year. That capital improvement program also expanded facilities for women and children.

To meet the Level IV standards, Tacoma General’s neonatal unit must have a full range of pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric sugical subspecialists. It must be able to provide surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions, said the hospital. The NICU is connected to MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, southwest Washington’s only pediatric hospital.