Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health is now home to the largest newborn intensive care unit in the state. IU Health Methodist Hospital relocated its labor and delivery department and NICU and moved mother sand their babies to Riley Hospital in the new, 116-bed maternity tower. The health system says it’s the start of a new chapter in downtown Indy because mothers and their babies can now be cared for under the same roof, even in the most complex cases.

Riley Children’s Health President Gil Peri tells Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta they found the need to keep moms and babies together throughout the continuum of care.

“The idea of keeping mom and baby together is important because we know that families heal together,” said Peri. “Traditionally, Methodist had the birthing center and a very high-level NICU and now Riley Children’s – the maternity tower – will have a one-stop service for all moms and babies regardless of what their needs might be.”

With the change, Peri says Riley Hospital will now be able to provide care for mothers throughout pregnancy.

“Everything that mom needs will be here at Riley Children’s Health related to her pregnancy,” he said. “We’ll have an OB emergency department, as well as labor and delivery, maternal fetal medicine experts, including interventionalists who can intervene early if necessary, as well as an OB ICU that’s dedicated to mom should she get to the situation where she might need intensive care.”

Peri says the health system hopes the new maternity tower will help address Indiana’s high infant mortality rate, as well as maternal mortality.

“Riley Children’s will partner with the Department of Health and other providers throughout the state that can help impact infant mortality. Maternal mortality has not had as significant of an improvement in the state of Indiana. We know that 1/3rd of the counties do not have OB wards or labor and delivery centers. So we know that we have some gaps to close as a state.”