The Nebraska Medical Center to combine labor and delivery units

Image with caption: This picture, taken during the delivery of a high-risk baby, shows the need for more space, one of the reasons this project is moving forward.
This picture, taken during the delivery of a high-risk baby, shows the need for more space, one of the reasons this project is moving forward.
Following board of director approval last month, the labor and delivery units at Clarkson and University Towers are set to merge, an approximately two-year process that will see all labor and delivery services housed on level four of University Tower.

Hospital leaders are confident the merger will prove as successful as the 1997 merger between the University and Clarkson Hospitals -- considered one of the most successful in the country.

"We have the strongest maternal/fetal medicine team in the region," said Lisa McClane, executive director of women and infants' services. "We offer services here no one else can."

McClane says the renovation plan for the combined unit in University Tower will provide everything this team of experts needs to continue providing a high level of care.

"This plan will improve patient quality and provide the space needed to do it right," McClane said. "We will build a space for three new ORs right next to the NICU. The unit will also have direct access to the Olson Center."

A triage center also will be created adjacent to the passageway to the Olson Center, improving efficiencies and keeping inpatient beds available. When completed, patients will labor and deliver in one room and be moved to a post-partum room.

"We will create a comfortable and inviting space for mothers," McClane said. There will also be more comfortable accommodations for fathers.

The need for the consolidation grew when Bellevue Medical Center opened and labor and delivery volumes decreased.

"Having two units requires minimal staffing requirements regardless of volume," said Carl Smith, M.D., professor and chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology and president of UNMC Physicians.

"In other words, we must have staff immediately available to take care of patients even if no one is in labor. Likewise, providing anesthesia coverage for both units is necessary for safe care. Both of these requirements are more expensive to maintain without decreasing safety and quality of care."

To create efficiencies, staff currently floats between the two towers. This also allows employees to get to know each other and will aid in the transition.

A multi-disciplinary team is involved in the planning of the new space.

"Private and academic physicians have been very engaged," said McClane, adding the change will also expand opportunities for private physicians to work with OB/GYN residents. "I can hardly wait to see it come together."


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August 07, 2013 at 9:04 AM

I think this is wonderful! Dr. Carlson is my OB/GYN and she was wonderful when I had my son, along with the rest of the staff! Wouldn't have wanted to have my baby at any other place! =)