Abbott Northwestern and Children's Host Groundbreaking Ceremony to Mark Construction of The Mother Baby Center Allina's Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota partner to create a facility exclusively dedicated to caring for mothers and their babies

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For decades, critically ill babies born at Abbott Northwestern Hospital have been whisked through an underground tunnel for emergency care at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. It is stressful to separate moms from their babies immediately after birth, but it was necessary to provide the best care possible for both.  

Soon, this kind of separation will no longer be necessary. Recognizing the need for a central place where mothers and infants could bond while receiving the highest level of care, Abbott Northwestern and Children's - Minneapolis have partnered to create The Mother Baby Center.

Abbott Northwestern and Children's will host a groundbreaking Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. near the construction site at 26th St. and Elliot Ave. in Minneapolis.

The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern and Children's - Minneapolis will merge Abbott Northwestern's labor, delivery and newborn nurseries with Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Special Care Nursery and Infant Care Center (ICC).

The birth center, located on Children's campus on the north side of 26th St., will have a dedicated entrance for expectant moms and families. The 96,000-square-foot four-story building will include 24 private patient rooms, a 20-bed ante-partum/post partum unit, 13 labor and delivery rooms, three operating rooms and skyway access to Abbott Northwestern.

It will be steps away from Children's new NICU, which features 44 private patient rooms with pullout sofas for parents and an environment especially designed for premature babies. The family-centered Mother Baby Center will allow mothers and babies to be together while providing babies with nationally renowned care from the Children's NICU.

The partnership will also create care coordination for high risk patients, enhancements to the Midwest Fetal Care Center, and telemedicine services to provide better care to underserved communities. Maternal integrative therapies will be provided by the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing.

Allina and Children's have a strong history of successful collaborations. The two systems operate under a similar model on the St. Paul campus, where United Hospital's birthing center is across the hall from Children's NICU.  This arrangement has provided a solid foundation to build upon.  

"Currently, mothers of critically ill babies remain at Abbott Northwestern while their infants are transferred to the NICU at Children's, which leads to a separation at a critical time for all members of the family," said Penny Wheeler, MD, chief medical officer of Allina Hospitals & Clinics, who is also an obstetrician and gynecologist. "By bringing our services together, we create a center that allows us to keep families together, a key goal for our organizations, and offers the best quality and experience for those we serve." 

"Our existing collaboration with Abbot Northwestern has produced some of the best outcomes in the country when it comes to caring for premature infants and babies with critical health needs," said Alan L. Goldbloom, MD, president and CEO at Children's. "The Mother Baby Center will build on that success, giving mothers a chance to deliver in a state-of-the-art facility, while still having immediate access to the best possible care for their infants."

Completion of the Mother Baby Center is scheduled for the end of 2012. Cost of construction of the new facility is $50 million.

One-third of the cost is being raised by Abbott Northwestern and Children's foundations. To date, major donors include Mary Lee Dayton, Sit Investment Associates, Inc., Riverbridge Partners, HDR Architects, The Martha "Muffy" Macmillan Family, Rick and Susie Chaffee, Linda and Robert Barrows, and employees and partners of RJF, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Co.

About Abbott Northwestern:

Abbott Northwestern has the highest birth volume in the region, delivering more than 4,000 babies each year. About 10 percent of these involve high-risk pregnancies or complications that require additional care and monitoring in a newborn intermediate care or intensive care unit.

Abbott Northwestern is part of Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a not-for-profit system of hospitals, clinics and other health care services, providing care throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Allina owns and operates 11 hospitals, more than 90 clinics and specialty care centers, and specialty medical services that provide hospice care, oxygen and home medical equipment, pharmacies, and emergency medical transportation services. Allina Hospitals & Clinics and the latest health information can be found online at

About Children's:

Serving as Minnesota's children's hospital since 1924, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is one of the largest pediatric health care organization in the United States, with 340 staffed beds at its two hospitals in St. Paul and Minneapolis. An independent, not-for-profit health care system, Children's of Minnesota provides care through more than 12,000 inpatient visits and more than 200,000 emergency room and other outpatient visits every year. Children's is the only Minnesota hospital system to provide comprehensive care exclusively to children.

Children's is regularly ranked among the top pediatric hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, most recently in 2010 for its neonatal care. Once again in 2010, Children's was recognized by the Leapfrog Group as one of the seven top hospitals in the country for quality and efficiency. In addition, the American Nurses Credentialing Center has named Children's a Magnet hospital, a designation that recognizes excellence in nursing.

SOURCE Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

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