This is the story of a very special delivery.
Kim and Nathan expected their first daughter to be born on Thanksgiving Day. But she was an early arrival at Truman Medical Centers Hospital Hill. Fifty-five days early. Premature. Not even 3 pounds. Baby Elizabeth fought for life in Truman’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Each day, for almost two months, the new parents stayed by their baby’s side. Surrounding them was a staff with a level of experience and a commitment to caring that is second to none in Kansas City.
This is just one story from Truman Medical Centers’ Level III NICU. We can tell thousands of them. Thousands of moms and dads who come to us in need leave us with hope and healthy babies. Families in crisis – often with no health insurance and limited financial resources – receive the best care available in our region.
But we have a story of need as well. A story of the best doctors, nurses, and support staff delivering exceptional care in outdated facilities designed for a prior era in healthcare. While the majority of Truman’s clinics and departments have been renovated and updated – including the Diabetes Center and Richard and the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Center – the NICU has not.
We also have a story of the great positive impact we can make in Kansas City. A story of how people like you found it in their hearts to invest in the lives of people like Kim, Nathan and Baby Elizabeth. Will you help us tell that story?
Real need. Real Impact.
Kansas City’s premier safety-net hospital was built in 1976. And the NIUC has not been physically updated since. Let’s say that again: the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Kansas City’s essential downtown hospital is 43 years old. The NICU’s 19 state-of-the-art incubators stand in tight rows within the crowded 5,000-square-foot unit. A footprint four times that much would be the standard and expectation for a NICU Truman’s size.
But don’t mistake a small footprint for substandard care. The staff is unparalleled, and the NICU’s medical equipment is state-of-the-art. Truman’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units treat up to 700 babies a year. In recent years, the demand for Level III NICU services has increased by nearly 20 percent. On any given day, every one of our 19 incubators are required to provide life-sustaining care for the smallest and sickest babies. We provide this vital care in too-tight quarters, often inches away from staff and family at the next bed over. As medical equipment has grown in complexity and capability over the last 4 decades, it has also grown in size. It makes a too-small NICU even more crowded.
Kansas City’s essential Level III NICU.
Truman Medical Centers is Kansas City’s medical safety net. In a metro area with more than 20 hospitals, only Truman exists to provide quality care to all in need, regardless of income or insurance coverage. One in four of our patients is uninsured. This year, uncompensated care is expected to exceed $148 million. What that means is we must deliver the best care in the most cost-effective way. And we do.
“We’re the one hospital Kansas City can’t do without,” says President and CEO Charlie Shields. “And every member of our team takes that responsibility seriously.”
There’s a reason that even with the facilities we have now, Hospital Hill earned the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. Truman was the first in the metro area and only the second in the state of Missouri to do so. We’re a teaching hospital for the University of Missouri Kansas City, with the fourth-largest community and family practice residency program in the country. More than a thousand of our graduates are serving in Kansas City. We have a staff of nearly 25 on-site interpreters for Spanish, Arabic and Somali languages and a staff trained to be sensitive to the cultural needs and expectations of our diverse patient population.
Delivering miracles with the right plan…
Truman’s $18.8 million NICU campaign will bring our community’s infant health care into the 21st Century. Incubators are at the heart of a Level III NICU, providing controlled temperature, humidity, and oxygen levels, and with armholes through which the infant can be reached with minimum disturbance to the controlled environment. With our NICU campaign, we will expand our capacity to care for our community’s most vulnerable newborns by increasing the number of licensed incubators from 19 to 29.
The NICU will grow from 5,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. And we need every inch. We will meet the needs for space and privacy and maximize use of our space by creating individual rooms with collapsible wall dividers. This flexible design creates the private space unavailable now while not locking the unit into one configuration. Using best practices in our design, the Hospital Hill Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will be a practical, flexible, efficient space, making the most effective use of your support.
…for the region’s premier neonatology team.
THE TMC/CHILDREN’S MERCY CONNECTIOIN: TMC Hospital Hill has a Level III NICU, equipped for treating babies born as early as 27 weeks. Our neighbor, Children’s Mercy Hospital, has a Level IV facility, which specializes in neonatal surgeries. The two teams work together to complement each other’s services and ensure all babies – and moms – who come to us receive the best and the most appropriate treatment. In fact, our two NICUs and the Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center at Children’s Mercy are linked by the Gary Dickinson Family Bridge of Hope across Holmes Street. This provides TMC babies rapid access to the special services available at Children’s Mercy and allows mothers from the Fetal Health Center to receive needed adult services from TMC. The close collaboration fosters seamless, life-saving care for our community’s most vulnerable babies and moms, while also eliminating duplicated services and ensuring the fiscally-responsible use of valuable resources.
Every gift is a miracle.
For this very special campaign, all gifts of $1,000 or more may be pledged over a five-year period.
It’s time. Let’s deliver miracles.
We are embarking on a very special campaign to raise $18.8 million for the overdue expansion and renovation of Kansas City’s only essential Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We have many stories to tell. Stories of need, hope and life. But to tell them, we need you.
Contact Kirk Isenhour
Executive Director, TMC Foundation