NICU Expansion 
Ron Yukelson 
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 
 
 
Dr. Rene Bravo (Governing Board Member & Loca Pediatrician), Dr. Steven Van Scoy (NICU Medical Director & Neonatologist) and Dr. Penny Borenstein (County Public Health Officer) tour the newly expanded NICU. 
    Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center recently completed expansion of the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) between Santa Barbara and Salinas with the addition of six beds. The additional six beds will now provide care to 22 infants. 
    The nearly year long project included an expansion and renovation with the NICU recently received its Certificate of Occupancy following an inspection from the California Department of Public Health. The project cost $1.8 million to complete. 
    “With this expansion Sierra Vista has enabled our community to continue to have access to high quality care for the most vulnerable of our population, namely critically ill newborns,” said Dr. Steven Van Scoy, the Unit’s medical director. “This will also enable families to have their newborn close to home rather than sometimes having to be transferred to a hospital more than 100 miles away.”
 
 
    The Sierra Vista NICU was originally completed in 1986 with six beds. In 1996 it was expanded to 10 beds with six additional beds in 2002 bringing the total to 16. This year will find 22 beds staffed by Board Certified neonatologists and critical care nurses specifically trained in the care of critically ill newborn babies. 
    Additionally, these same doctors and nurses are part of the NICU Transport Team that picks up babies from as far away as Northern Santa Barbara County and Southern Monterey County for care at Sierra Vista. The NICU serves as a referral center from Lompoc to King City and into the San Joaquin Valley. The Unit cares for about 275 newborns a year that stay an average of 19 days. 
    In order to provide full maternal-child services, Sierra Vista maintains the only high risk pregnancy program in San Luis Obispo County as well as the only dedicated Pediatrics Unit. Sierra Vista averages more than 1200 births a year with approximately 25 percent of the high risk deliveries admitted to the NICU upon birth.