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As Second Northern NV Hospital Closes Pediatrics Unit, Renown Children’s Hospital Expands to Meet Community Need for Essential Services

June 19, 2024

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Northern Nevada Sierra Medical Center (Reno, NV) closed their inpatient pediatric unit for infants and children on June 1. This follows the 2022 decision by St Mary’s Medical Center (also in Reno) to close their 24-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and 18-bed pediatric floor in addition to eliminating maternity and birthing services.

Why Are Hospitals Closing Pediatric Units?

“Across the nation, pediatric units are being shuttered in favor of more lucrative units for adult care,” writes Brenna Miller, a Health Communications Specialist at the Lown Institute in her blog, Pediatrics and Profits: Why children’s hospital units are closing (Dec. 2022). “Why is pediatrics a drain on hospital finances? One reason is reimbursement. Medicaid, the state-run health insurance program for low-income patients, covers more than one third of children in the US, and Medicaid reimbursement rates are typically lower than those from other insurers.”

The New York Times also reported a nationwide wave of hospitals shutting down their pediatric units in favor of more profitable adult units. “Adult beds are more lucrative than children’s beds. So as institutions look to boost profit margins, pediatrics is often among the first services to be cut,” said Emily Baumgaertner, Oct. 11, 2022. “The decline of local access to children’s inpatient care began over a decade ago and accelerated during the pandemic. Between 2008 and 2018 — the most recent national data available — pediatric inpatient units in the United States decreased almost 20 percent, and nearly a quarter of children found themselves farther from their nearest pediatric unit.”

Northern Nevada Health System and St. Mary’s Medical Center are owned by for-profit investor companies, Universal Health Services, Inc., and Prime Healthcare.

Renown Children’s is Here for You and Your Child

“Renown is focused on meeting the community’s need for essential services, offering peace of mind knowing that any time, day or night, kids can get sick, and when they do, we are here to care for them, says Brian Erling, MD, MBA, president & CEO, Renown Health. “Renown is owned by our community, not by stockholders or private investors. We are a charitable, not-for-profit organization supported by grateful patients and donors. We are proud that 100% of our earnings are reinvested in programs, people, and equipment to improve the health of our community. We are investing in high quality health care for children; recruiting and training the next generation of physicians, nurses, and clinicians; and enhancing the quality of life for generations to come.”

“At Renown Children’s, we offer a full range of pediatric services- both inpatient and outpatient,” says Kristina Deeter, MD, MBA, FAAP, Chair of Pediatrics (UNR Med) and Physician-in-Chief, Renown Children’s Hospital. “Our hospital services include a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, Children’s Emergency Room (open 24/7), Pediatric ICU (PICU), children’s imaging center and a Level III neonatal ICU (NICU) within Renown Regional Medical Center. We also have a team of dedicated pediatricians who specialize in caring for children from birth to young adulthood. This includes preventative care such as annual checkups, immunizations, developmental screenings, and nutrition and physical activity counseling. Whether you're a new parent or an experienced caregiver, we're here to support you and your child every step of the way.”

In addition to providing comprehensive OB/GYN and birthing services, Renown Health has invested in and expanded their team of dedicated pediatricians and support staff to ensure your child receives the best care possible in the highest quality facilities.

New Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

The Wilbur D. May Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is located on the fifth floor of the Tahoe Tower at Renown Regional Medical Center. This special floor was designed to provide advanced care for 49 premature babies and newborns. As the only level III NICU in the region, Renown’s team of neonatologists, nurses, and specialists provides around-the-clock care for premature and sick infants, ensuring the highest standard of care.  

New Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Children's Hospital provides specialized care for critically ill patients ranging from newborns to young adults, primarily those under eighteen. These team cares for a variety of conditions, including respiratory issues, infections, genetic and metabolic disorders, traumas, accidents, and post-surgical recovery. A dedicated team of pediatric intensivists, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, dietitians, and other professionals ensure that our most fragile children receive the attention and compassionate care they deserve.

Pediatrics Specialties & Services 

Over 50 Pediatricians and Pediatric Clinicians provide care in the following areas. Appointments can be scheduled via MyChart or by calling Renown at 775-982-5437. 

Renown Children’s Hospital is supported by grateful patients and donors. Secure a brighter future for local children by donating to the Renown Health Foundation at 775-982-5545 or at renown.org/About/Renown-Health-Foundation.



About Renown Health

Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated health care network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,500 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination, and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health.

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