London, Ky. — Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021 on a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saint Joseph London to serve southeastern Kentucky. When the $1.4 million projects are completed, Saint Joseph London will be one of only two hospitals in southeastern Kentucky with both a birthing center and NICU.
“We undertook a significant fundraising initiative to construct, equip and staff the Saint Joseph London Neonatal Intensive Care Unit because of the dire need for this level of specialty care for medically fragile infants and their families living in Appalachia,” said Leslie B. Smart, CFRE, president, Saint Joseph London Foundation. “A NICU will have a life-changing and positive impact for our tiniest patients.”
With the construction and renovation of the 4,630 square foot space adjacent to the existing Labor and Delivery area, there will be an additional six beds in private rooms to foster family-centered care and recovery. The NICU will provide new, sustainable, and highly specialized clinical services to more than 100 patients annually who would otherwise have to be transported 90 miles away to receive treatment. The project will include the construction of four critical care bays and two private rooms on the third floor of the hospital. It will also equip the rooms with necessary equipment and supplies to serve babies born prematurely or with special needs, such as those born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
“Infants born at Saint Joseph London in need of specialized care now must be taken to a facility with a NICU more than an hour’s drive from their families to get the care they need,” said John Yanes, president, Saint Joseph London. “This creates a significant hardship for the mother and family. The new NICU will serve southeastern Kentucky and will allow those babies to stay close to home and close to their parents for that important bonding time in the early days of their lives.”
The Saint Joseph London Foundation received a $990,510 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to establish the Level II NICU at the hospital. Combined with $243,000 in funding from WHAS Crusade for Children and proceeds raised through the London Gala for Hope the past three years, the NICU project is now fully funded.
The nearly $1 million grant ARC grant – the largest ever received by the Saint Joseph London Foundation – was made via its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) initiative to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. The Saint Joseph London NICU project will create 19 new jobs and an estimated 24 jobs will be retained in order to meet the needs of the NICU and serve the infants and families of southeastern Kentucky.
To date, ARC has invested more than $238 million in 293 projects, touching 353 counties across Appalachia since 2015. More information about ARC’s POWER initiative is available at www.arc.gov/power.
“I congratulate Saint Joseph London for their POWER award, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches. Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”
For more information on women’s and newborn care at Saint Joseph London, call 606.330.6300, or visit www.chisaintjosephhealth.org/london-maternity.
About CHI Saint Joseph Health
CHI Saint Joseph Health, part of Catholic Health Initiatives, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 135 locations in 20 counties, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes, and home health agencies. In total, the health system serves patients in 35 counties statewide. CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to building healthier communities by elevating patient care through an integrated physical and behavioral health delivery system. CHI Saint Joseph Health embodies a strong mission and faith-based heritage and works through local partnerships to expand access to care in the communities it serves.