Riley Hospital announces new program to offer expert maternity care for moms and babies

INDIANAPOLIS— Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health announced plans for the creation of Riley Maternity & Newborn Health at IU Health, a comprehensive statewide program consisting of a hospital-based center and an expanded perinatal network designed to improve access to coordinated, safe and high-quality medical care that could significantly improve the health outcomes for at-risk pregnant women and infants throughout Indiana.

With this development, Riley at IU Health will become the first children’s hospital in Indiana to establish an integrated, all-in-one program offering obstetric, delivery, newborn and comprehensive pediatric sub-specialty services—a new model of coordinated care that essentially treats mother and baby as one patient and surrounds them with the medical support they need.

Riley Maternity & Newborn Health at IU Health is designed to give patients quick and immediate access to high-risk obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, neonatologists, pediatric hospitalists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses and other providers experienced in caring for mothers and babies. The care team will include patient navigators who can support expectant mothers through their care plan, help coordinate appointments and connect families to helpful resources. It will also have technology equipped with advanced fetal imaging and telemedicine outreach capabilities.

In addition to a hospital-based center that will serve as the program’s hub, the Indianapolis-based program will have a statewide reach through its expanded perinatal network. The network—made up of aligned newborn intensive care and obstetrics units from across Indiana—will extend Riley at IU Health’s expertise and offer more accessible and coordinated care for mothers and babies living in those areas.

“There is a significant need for a program like this here in Indiana,” said David A. Ingram, M.D., a neonatologist and perinatal specialist with Riley Maternity & Newborn Health at IU Health. “A leading cause of poor infant outcomes is a lack of precise and coordinated care, which is absolutely vital when it comes to managing high-risk pregnancies. Bringing together our maternal fetal medicine and maternity services with our neonatal and other pediatric subspecialty services is critical as we continue to work together for a single cause: the best possible health outcomes for expectant mothers and their newborns.”

Healthcare facilities connected through this network will function under a new model of care delivery that ensures patients are seen by the most appropriate provider considering the patient’s unique needs, the case’s level of complexity and the provider’s capabilities. The network will ultimately seek to return patients back home where they can receive follow-up care in their local communities and stay in contact through the network. The network has already made connections in Avon, Bloomington, Carmel, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Lafayette and South Bend and plans for further connections across the state.

The idea for Riley Maternity & Newborn Health at IU Health was originally conceived while pursuing a practical solution for tackling Indiana’s alarming infant mortality rate. Officials at Riley at IU Health began researching the most effective perinatal healthcare programs in the United States so they could incorporate those best practices to benefit patients in Indiana. Over the course of the planning process, Riley at IU Health leaders consulted with peers at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital—two U.S.News & World Report-ranked pediatric hospitals that currently house clinical programs offering maternity and newborn services for both mothers and babies.

Riley at IU Health has already hired an executive director and director to oversee the roll out of the program and recruited several of the nation’s best and brightest healthcare professionals specializing in neonatology, maternal-fetal medicine and pediatric surgery.

The new program expects to connect more hospitals to its growing perinatal network and to recruit more than a dozen more specialists in the coming months.