Kansas City,
11:17 AM

Children's Mercy extends METRO program to help more babies

 Dr. Howard Kilbride, CM Director-Division of Neonatology
Not all babies have to come to Children's Mercy for Level 4 care. Our aim is to identify babies who can be safely kept at community hospitals by extending a higher level of service.
Dr. Howard Kilbride, CM Director-Division of Neonatology

Dr. Steve Olsen is a Children’s Mercy neonatologist, yet on a recent Thursday his itinerary included traveling to see patients at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.; Liberty (Mo.) Hospital; North Kansas City Hospital; and Truman Lakewood. After a late-afternoon meeting at the Adele Hall Campus, he made a return trip to Liberty before wrapping up his work day.

For Dr. Olsen, Associate Division Director of Neonatology, and other Children’s Mercy neonatologists, not every day involves logging 100 to 150 miles to provide neonatal care. But under a program called Metropolitan Neonatal Service, METRO for short, they bring their expertise to community hospitals.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Mercy is the region’s only Level 4 Neonatal Center, providing the highest level of neonatal care for the most complex and critically ill newborn infants. With METRO, that expertise can give patents more options and peace-of-mind when it comes to their newborns.

“METRO is about a program, not a space,” Dr. Howard Kilbride, Director, Division of Neonatology, said. “Not all babies have to come to Children’s Mercy for Level 4 care. Our aim is to identify babies who can be safely kept at the community hospitals by extending a higher level of service. For individual cases we can talk with our subspecialists to bring their input into care at METRO hospitals, or transfer babies to Children’s Mercy when we have more diagnostic questions or need higher-level intensive care.”

“Our underlying goal is to try and keep babies and moms together as much as possible and still provide the highest level of care we can,” Dr. Olsen said. “One of the things we’ve taken pride in is bringing the highest level of academic neonatology out to the community through similar management styles, Quality Improvement projects and best practices.”

Parents who are deciding where to deliver their baby can count on having the resources and capabilities of the Children’s Mercy Division of Neonatology available when they choose a hospital that has a METRO association.

Children’s Mercy physicians are also Neonatal Medical Directors for METRO hospitals’ nurseries:

  • Dr. Olsen at North Kansas City Hospital and Truman Lakewood;
  • Dr. Jodi Jackson at Shawnee Mission Medical Center;
  • Dr. Winston Manimtim at Liberty Hospital;
  • Dr. Adebayo Oshodi at Providence Medical Center; and
  • Dr. Joshua Petrikin at Truman Medical Center-Hospital Hill

METRO hospitals also have Children’s Mercy Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs) available 24 X 7 to respond to any delivery issue that may arise. “Our well-trained and experienced NNPs are great ambassadors for Children’s Mercy in the community hospitals,” Dr. Olsen said. “Their presence is comforting to community obstetricians when something unexpected happens.

“We work with community physicians and hospitals at the level they’ve asked us to help them,” Dr. Olsen added. “We provide neonatal services as appropriate for each individual institution to address the objectives of that institution. That’s the big picture.”

Children’s Mercy is consistently rated as one of the best centers for Neonatology in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and has received top scores in measures such as family involvement, availability of subspecialties and infection prevention.


Learn more about the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Mercy.