Anna Noel, a UMMC neonatal nurse practitioner, checks a baby's record in the NICU at North Mississippi Medical Center.
Anna Noel, a UMMC neonatal nurse practitioner, checks a baby's record in the NICU at North Mississippi Medical Center.
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UMMC experts now offer neonatal intensive care at NMMC

Published on Monday, July 26, 2021

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is teaming up with North Mississippi Medical Center to provide quality care to the region’s smallest and most critically ill infants.

On July 1 UMMC physicians and practitioners began providing care in the Tupelo medical center’s 34-bed neonatal intensive care unit, which offers care to babies born at NMMC Women’s Hospital as well as those transferred from other north Mississippi hospitals. The only Level III NICU in north Mississippi, the unit offers around-the-clock care to babies in semiprivate rooms where parents can stay with their babies if they choose.

UMMC’s main campus in Jackson is home to the state’s only Level IV NICU, the highest level. Management by UMMC through Children’s of Mississippi will benefit both medical centers, leaders from both institutions say.

Children’s of Mississippi is the umbrella organization that includes the state’s only children’s hospital as well as specialty clinics in Tupelo, Jackson and around the state. The state-of-the-art Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower, opened in 2020, features 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms where parents can stay with their children as they grow and heal.

“We look forward to a successful partnership with Children’s of Mississippi to provide neonatology care for our premature patients.  We have a long history of providing excellent care for babies in our region,” said Ellen Friloux, vice president of Women and Children’s Services, NMMC-Tupelo.  “Working with Children’s of Mississippi, we expect to not only continue providing high quality care but even expand capabilities and collaboration by working more closely with the only Level IV center in the state.”

Guy Giesecke

“Collaboration with North Mississippi Medical Center can give North Mississippi babies in neonatal intensive care the best start possible,” said Children’s of Mississippi CEO Guy Giesecke. “By working together with the medical team in Tupelo, we can find improvements to care to help all the children in the state reach their full potential.”

Patients at NMMC’s neonatal intensive care unit who need Level IV care, which can include surgery, are transported by neonatal ambulance transport or by AirCare helicopter to UMMC if needed. They also have access to NMMC’s Carexpress neonatal emergency transport and CareFlight air medical service. These north Mississippi babies can be transferred closer to home at NMMC as their health improves.

UMMC is working with local medical centers to improve neonatal health. The state’s only academic medical center also manages the neonatal intensive care units at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, the only Level III NICU on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and the Level II NICU at Delta Health – The Medical Center in Greenville.

Mississippi’s high rate of premature and low-birthweight babies makes the teamwork between NMMC and UMMC important to neonatal health, said Dr. Mobolaji Famuyide, chief of neonatology at UMMC.

Mobolaji Famuyide

“It is delightful to have North Mississippi Medical Center, Children’s of Mississippi and UMMC all on the same team,” she said, “we all share the common mission of optimizing neonatal outcomes in the state of Mississippi and giving each Mississippi baby a healthy start in life.”

In 2015, UMMC and Children’s of Mississippi opened a specialty clinic at Tupelo’s Journal Business Park, offering pediatric specialty care in cardiology, endocrinology, genetics, orthopaedics and child development, among other specialties.

Children’s of Mississippi and NMMC also offer pediatric primary care through the new Children’s Clinic, which opens Aug. 16 in its new location at 199 Grandstand Place in the Fairpark District of Tupelo. The clinic, which previously had locations in Tupelo and Saltillo, is more than double the size of those clinics.  The clinic, managed by UMMC, employs eight pediatricians and two nurse practitioners.

Portrait of Dr. Mary Taylor

Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair, professor and chair of pediatrics, said the two medical centers are bringing the best possible pediatric care to families in north Mississippi.

“The medical professionals at North Mississippi Medical Center and UMMC share the same mission and calling,” she said, “and we are excited about this new opportunity to work together in improving children’s health.”