Portland, OR (PRWEB) July 17, 2013
Care for premature babies and critically ill newborns in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) accounts for a significant percentage of all dollars spent for newborn care. Emerging trends in the NICU show that a prolonged NICU stay for a chronic condition can easily exceed $1 million. While preterm births have been slowly declining in recent years, NICU length of stay has increased because babies who would not have survived decades ago routinely survive today due to continually evolving medical and technological advances.
During a recent webinar hosted by AllMed Healthcare Management, Dr. Kari Kassir, a pediatric critical care physician, discussed issues related to managing chronic conditions in the NICU helping utilization review and case management professionals to make better care management decisions. Dr. Kassir discussed numerous chronic conditions treated in the NICU, including their clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment options.
Common chronic conditions include anemia of prematurity, respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, apnea of prematurity, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity, and sepsis. Although these conditions can affect term neonates, they are generally more common and more pronounced in premature babies.
Premature babies may also have congenital heart defects. Dr. Kassir reviewed a number of different types of congenital heart defects, which generally are diagnosed during pregnancy or soon after birth. According to Dr. Kassir, the most common heart problem in premature babies is patent ductus arteriosus. Treatment options for congenital heart defects include cardiac catheterization, surgery to repair the structural defect, and medications.
“Supportive therapy in the NICU helps limit stress on babies and meet their basic needs of warmth, nutrition, and protection,” said Dr. Kassir. Premature babies are monitored closely for infections and changes in breathing, temperature, and heart rate. Depending on the infant’s needs, radiant warmers or incubators may be used, fluids and nutrients may be administered through needles or tubes, and oxygen tubes or ventilators may aid breathing.
Although not all babies in the NICU have the same illness or condition, some diagnoses are common to newborns needing intensive care. “The amount of time that babies remain in the unit depends on the severity of their illness,” said Dr. Kassir. With the wide range of possibilities, she stressed the importance of referring to the latest clinical guidelines developed by organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
AllMed Healthcare Management provides physician review outsourcing solutions to leading health plans, medical management organizations, TPAs and integrated health systems, nationwide. AllMed offers MedReview(sm), MedCert(sm), and MedDirector(sm) staffing services that cover initial pre-authorizations and both internal and external appeals, drawing on a panel of over 400 board-certified specialists in all areas of medicine. Services are deployed through PeerPoint(R), AllMed's state-of-the-art medical review portal. For more information on how AllMed can help your organization improve the quality and integrity of healthcare, contact us today at info(at)allmedmd(dot)com, or visit us at http://www.allmedmd.com
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