WMMC Launches Tele-Neonatology Program

Warrensburg, MO (January 21, 2019)—When an infant is born at Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC), staff will now have access to neonatal intensive care specialists if needed. Advanced telemedicine technology, which has an audio-visual connection that will allow our providers to connect with neonatology specialists to examine infants in real time and assess treatment and the need, if any, for transfer. This care is made possible through a new collaborative partnership with neonatology specialists at Sunflower Neonatology Associates and Research Medical Center, part of HCA Midwest Health.

“This is a wonderful addition to an already strong birthing program at WMMC,” said Darinda Reberry, WMMC President and Chief Executive Officer. “In cases where a birth is at predictably high risk, the mother usually delivers in a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit on site. However, many high-risk births are not predictable, and we are now in a better position to treat a high-risk baby when it is born.

Medical conditions that might warrant use of the tele-neonatology unit include prematurity, low birth weight, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital malformations (birth defects), sepsis, pulmonary hypoplasia, and birth asphyxia.

“WMMC’s Birthing Center delivers nearly 700 babies a year,” says Kelly Vignery, RN, Obstetrics Manager. “We are very fortunate to have this service in our community to enhance the capabilities available to these babies.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Western Missouri Medical Center to offer this new, potentially life-saving technology while enhancing an excellent birthing program at this hospital,” says Jackie DeSouza-Van Blaricum, President and Chief Executive Officer at Research Medical Center. “We know that nationally, on average, ten percent of newborns require breathing assistance, and 1% may need resuscitation. So offering this critical service in the patient’s hometown hospital and in their own community helps to avoid transferring newborns, and importantly keeps the mother and baby together.

“As one of the eight neonatologists at Sunflower Neonatology Associates, we are very excited and proud to partner with the hospital for this service, and humbled to be a part of their medical staff family,” says Tiffany Simpson, MD, neonatologist and Medical Director at Research Medical Center and Centerpoint Medical Center’s Tele-Neonatology programs. “Neonatal tele-health service enables community hospitals to avoid transferring ill newborns who can be safely cared for at their home hospital. We utilize a video connection with highly experienced clinical teams at the bedside. These teams provide hands-on care for the newborn and may be guided through procedures by the neonatologists. Our specialists provide our combined years of experience of caring for neonates, and expertise in caring for newborns that are delivered at this community hospital, when previously this was not possible.”

To schedule a tour of WMMC’s Birthing Center or to learn more, call (660) 262-7514.

Other Recent Posts by WMMC:

WMMC Makes All Birthing Classes Free Starting 2019

Preparing for Delivery: When to Go to the Hospital

The First Hours After Birth: A Baby’s 9 Instinctive Stages

About Western Missouri Medical Center

Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) is a fully-accredited acute care county medical center located in Warrensburg, MO. WMMC prides itself in emergency care, obstetrics, orthopedic and general surgery, family healthcare, internal medicine, outpatient clinics, ambulatory care, rehabilitation services and more. Inpatient services include medical, surgical, intensive, obstetrical, orthopedic, pediatric and skilled nursing care, as well as a wide range of therapeutic and diagnostic outpatient services. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Learn more at WMMC.com

About HCA Midwest Health

HCA Midwest Health is the Kansas City area’s leading healthcare provider consisting of seven hospitals, outpatient centers, clinics, physician practices, surgery centers and an array of other services to meet the healthcare needs of the greater Kansas City area. HCA Midwest Health is also one of the area’s largest private sector employers with more than 9,000 employees, the largest provider of charity and uncompensated care, and annually donates more than $1.2 million to local charities. Since April 2003, HCA Midwest Health has invested more than $845 million to enhance and expand patient services and has paid more than $216 million in taxes to local communities. HCA Midwest Health facilities serving the Kansas City area include Belton Regional Medical Center, Centerpoint Medical Center, Lafayette Regional Health Center, Lee’s Summit Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center, Research Medical Center and Research Psychiatric Center.  Midwest Physicians, which is part of HCA Midwest Health, is a network of experienced, multi-specialty physicians located throughout the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area.  HCA Midwest Health offers the most advanced care for the mother and baby(ies), caring for more babies than any other health system in the region which includes four dedicated birthing centers and Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) at Centerpoint Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Research Medical Center.  Unique to the HCA Midwest Health services, is the life-saving, Whole Body Cooling System at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. The physicians and staff at HCA Midwest Health team are dedicated to improving healthcare in the Greater Kansas City and outlying areas.  For more information, visit hcamidwest.com. 

About Research Medical Center

Research Medical Center (RMC)—part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider—serves patients by providing quality healthcare services and access to advanced technology. The hospital, located at 2316 East Meyer Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the region’s leading acute care hospitals. The 590-bed facility features a broad range of specialized, state-of-the-art services including a Level I Trauma Center and Level 1 Time Critical Diagnosis services for stroke, brain and spinal cord injury, heart attack and sepsis. Research is home to the region’s first accredited stroke center. Other services include the TIA Clinic, Grossman Burn Center, Liver and Pancreas Institute, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, 24-hour Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospitalists and Emergency Room, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Transplant Institute, fertility specialists, Center for the Relief of Pain, orthopedics, sports medicine and much more. In addition, the 25-acre Research Brookside Campus, located at 6601 Rockhill Road in Kansas City, Mo., includes an outpatient surgery center, many specialty physicians and a comprehensive health and fitness center.  Research Medical Center and the Brookside Campus provide 24-hour access to Emergency Services and have many primary care and walk-in care providers who offer preventive and wellness services. For more information about Research Medical Center, visit researchmedicalcenter.com and researchbrookside.com.

About Sunflower Neonatology Associates

Sunflower Neonatology Associates was founded in 2004 by Dr. Kathleen Weatherstone, MD, to provide family-centered, evidence-based medical care for very ill and premature infants. Our eight neonatologists staff the neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) of the four HCA Midwest hospitals in the Kansas City region and provide consultative services to Providence Medical Center, Olathe Medical Center and Lawrence Memorial Hospital.


Contact: Tara Carlyle
System Director of Communications and Development
(660) 262-7497