HELENA — St. Peter's Health will partner with Bozeman Health to help develop a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.
The two health organizations announced their joint operating agreement on September 30.
“We are committed--as is [Bozeman Health]-- to work together, collaborate and develop this program for the betterment of patients,” said Wade Johnson, St. Peter’s Health CEO. “As our demographics continue to grow between Bozeman and Helena, there’s a lot of patients that we have to serve. Having a high level NICU will serve our patients very well.”
Families in Helena will be able to utilize a telehealth consultation with a physician at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital during their during appointments with their OB/GYN or FPOB (Family Practice/Obstetrics).
Those families will also have access to NICU care at in Bozeman and then coordinated post-discharge pediatric care back in Helena.
“This is about bringing care closer to home so patients won’t have to travel as far to get to that high level of NICU,” said Johnson.
Bozeman Deaconess Hospital will be opening the new NICU in the fall of 2020.
The NICU will open as a Level II NICU, meaning that most babies born as early as 32 weeks gestation can be cared for within the unit; it is anticipated that it will quickly transition to a Level III NICU, providing care for babies born as early as 28 weeks gestation.
The addition of the NICU brings a neonatologist and maternal-fetal medicine physician to the Deaconess Hospital care team, and extends that expertise to St. Peter’s Health physicians.
“Bozeman Health and St. Peter’s Health share a common vision to care for patients close to home and to keep them close to their families, friends, and support system,” shared Bozeman Health president and CEO John Hill. “We know that having a high-risk pregnancy, or delivering a baby that may need specialized care can turn what should be a joyous time into one that is stress-filled. It is our hope that this partnership and center of excellence will alleviate that stress for families and patients in and between Bozeman and Helena. Bozeman Health is proud to partner with St. Peter’s Health and to be regional leaders in women’s and children’s services.”
The organizations say this partnership is the first of several efforts to increase collaboration between independent community health systems and bring specialized care closer to home for Montana patients.