Sometime within the next month, state officials are expected to decide on a Certificate of Need application that would allow Northside Hospital-Forsyth to expand its neonatal services to better accommodate needs of high-risk babies.
We want to add our voice to those who already have endorsed the idea, and encourage others to do so as well.
The growth, development and improvement of medical services at the Northside campus over the past several years have been nothing short of amazing to watch. Time and again the facility has been expanded to provide more and better health care to the area, and our community is better for it.
As the hospital has grown, so too has the medical community it has helped to bring to the county, with new doctors and specialties making themselves more readily available to local residents.
Northside has time and time again proven itself a good neighbor, and has made a major commitment to being an integral part of Forsyth County.
The most recent CON filed with the state seeks permission to renovate a portion of the existing Women’s Center so as to provide a four-bed Level III neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. The cost of doing so is expected to be some $2 million.
Having a Level III NICU would provide the hospital with the ability to better care for babies born prior to 32 weeks of gestation, or those weighing less than 3.4 pounds. In short, babies that may not survive without special care not now available at the local hospital.
Last year more than 2,600 babies were born at the hospital in Cumming. Of those, about 20 had to be sent to a Level III NICU elsewhere. But not all such newborns can risk transport, and there is much to be said for having here, at our hospital, the treatment facility needed to give them the best chance of survival.
In the Atlanta area, Northside is certainly a name synonymous with maternity care and newborns, and given the continued population growth in this area we need for the local hospital to have the capability of providing the best care possible for the riskiest of babies.
Some 2,000 letters of support for the project already have been received. You can add your name to the list by dropping such a letter off at the lobby of the hospital, or the Chamber of Commerce office on Kelly Mill Road. Letters in support of the project can also be emailed to the chamber (firstname.lastname@example.org), but all letters must be received by noon Tuesday.
Northside deserves our support, just as our newborns deserve the support this expansion of services would provide for them.