State OKs UChicago Medicine plan to revamp labor and delivery unit

State OKs UChicago Medicine plan to revamp labor and delivery unit

Project to bring moms and babies closer access to high-quality pediatric care

November 13, 2014

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board unanimously approved the University of Chicago Medicine's application to relocate and modernize its labor and delivery unit, which will expand access to high-quality obstetric services for expectant and new mothers and their babies.

The project will move its labor and delivery unit from the Mitchell Hospital to Comer Children's Hospital while also adding another recovery labor/deliver/recovery room, post-delivery rooms and triage areas. The change allows UChicago Medicine to provide new mothers with a modern, state-of-the-art facility and immediate access to Comer's neonatal intensive care unit.

As the South Side's only Level 3 perinatal provider and referral center, the University of Chicago Medicine is a vital resource for the community, treating a high-risk and vulnerable population of moms with multiple health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and obesity up to eight times the national average. More than one-third of women who give birth at UChicago Medicine are patients who've had little or no prenatal care, and 41 percent of deliveries are clinically complicated by factors such as breech presentation, pre-term labor or multiple births -- almost double the state average.

During Wednesday's hearing in Rochelle, the regulatory board heard testimony in support of the project from representatives from Friend Family Health Center and Ingalls Memorial Hospital, as well as two nurses and a physician from UChicago Medicine.

The new unit will have nine labor/delivery/recovery rooms, five triage rooms, two operating rooms (C-section suites), two recovery rooms and five antepartum rooms -- all on the third floor of Comer Children's Hospital. Currently, there are eight labor/delivery/recovery rooms and two C-section suites in Mitchell. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2015 and be completed in mid-2016.