Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department Of Health
Chapter 410. Regulations for the Licensure of Hospitals in Virginia
5/14/2021

12VAC5-410-444. Newborn service medical direction; physician consultation and coverage; nursing direction, nurse staffing and coverage; policies and procedures.

A. The governing body shall appoint a physician as medical director of the organized newborn service who meets the qualifications specified in the medical staff bylaws. In addition, the medical director must meet the qualifications specified for the medical direction of the highest level of newborn service provided by the hospital.

1. If a hospital offers only general level newborn services, the medical director shall be a physician qualified to provide normal newborn care, including the ability to immediately resuscitate and stabilize a sick newborn for transfer to a higher level of service.

2. If a hospital offers intermediate level newborn services, the medical director shall be a board-certified or board-eligible pediatrician with training and experience in the care of preterm neonates, including stabilization and ventilation management.

3. If a hospital offers specialty level newborn services, the medical director shall be a board-certified or board-eligible neonatologist.

4. If a hospital offers subspecialty level newborn services, the medical director shall be a board-certified or board-eligible neonatologist.

B. The duties and responsibilities of the medical directors of all levels of newborn service shall include, but not be limited to the:

1. General supervision of the quality of care provided patients admitted to the service;

2. Establishment of criteria for admission to the service;

3. Adherence of the service to standards of professional practices, policies and procedures, the medical protocol, and the hospital's collaboration agreements adopted by the medical staff and governing body applicable to the service;

4. Development of recommendations to the medical staff on standards of professional practice and staff privileges applicable to the service;

5. Identification of clinical conditions and medical and surgical procedures that require physician consultation;

6. Conducting conferences, at least quarterly, to review routine and emergency surgical procedures, complications and infant and maternal mortality and morbidity. Infant mortality and morbidity shall be discussed with the obstetric service staff; and

7. Active participation in the service's quality assurance program.

C. The hospital shall provide the following physician consultation and coverage in the general level newborn nursery service and all higher level nursery services unless unique requirements are specifically imposed for the higher level nursery services:

1. A physician with pediatric privileges capable of arriving on-site within 30 minutes of notification shall be on the 24-hour on-call duty roster;

2. A physician or nurse skilled in neonatal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) shall be available in the hospital at all times.

3. A current roster of physicians, with a delineation of their newborn, pediatric, medical and surgical privileges shall be posted at each nurses' station in the newborn service unit.

4. A copy of the 24-hour on-call duty schedule, including a list of on-call consulting physicians, shall be posted at each nurses' station in the newborn service unit.

5. If the medical director is not a board-certified or board-eligible pediatrician, the hospital shall have a written agreement with one or more board-certified or board-eligible pediatricians to be available to provide consultation on a 24-hour basis. Consultation may be by telephone.

6. If a hospital does not have a neonatologist on staff available on a 24-hour basis, it shall have a written agreement with another hospital to provide consultation, at least by telephone, on a 24-hour basis, by a board-certified or board-eligible neonatologist. The consultant shall be available to advise on the development of a protocol for the care and transport of sick newborns.

D. The physician consultation and coverage for the intermediate level newborn nursery service shall be the same as the general level newborn service with the following exceptions:

1. Subdivision C 1 of this section shall not apply.

2. Physician coverage shall be provided on a 24-hour on-call basis by a board-certified or board-eligible pediatrician or pediatricians capable of arriving on-site within 30 minutes of notification.

E. The physician consultation and coverage for the specialty level and the subspecialty level newborn services shall be the same as for the lower level newborn services with the following exceptions:

1. Subdivision C 1 of this section shall not apply.

2. In-house physician consultation and coverage shall be provided 24 hours a day by a:

a. Board-certified or board-eligible neonatologist;

b. Board-certified or board-eligible pediatrician;

c. Second year or higher level pediatric resident; or

d. Neonatal nurse practitioner.

3. Whenever in-house coverage is provided as stated in subdivision 2 b, c, or d of this subsection, a board-certified or board-eligible neonatologist shall be on-call and available to be on-site within 20 minutes of request.

F. The nursing direction, staff and coverage required for the general level newborn service shall be as follows:

1. The neonatal nursing program shall be under the direction of a registered nurse.

2. The nursing director's responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to:

a. Directing neonatal nursing services;

b. Guiding the development and implementation of neonatal nursing policies and procedures;

c. Collaborating with the medical staff; and

d. Consulting with referral hospitals with which a hospital has transfer agreements applicable to the service or services.

3. Each occupied unit of the newborn service shall be under the direct supervision of a registered nurse 24 hours a day. The registered nurse shall have documented competence in neonatal nursing appropriate to the level of service provided.

4. If a general level newborn nursery is organized as a separate nursing unit, staffing shall be based on a formula of a minimum of one nursing personnel to every eight newborns. Staffing shall include at least one registered nurse for the unit for each duty shift to provide direct supervision for nursing care.

5. If the postpartum and general level newborn units are organized as combined rooming-in or modified rooming-in units, staffing shall be based on a formula of one nursing personnel for every four mother-baby units. The rooming-in units shall always be staffed with no less than two nursing personnel assigned to each shift. One of the two nursing personnel shall be a registered nurse to provide direct supervision of nursing care.

6. When infants are present in the nursery, at least one nursing personnel trained in the care of newborn infants, with duties restricted to the care of the infants, shall be assigned to the nursery at all times. This nursing personnel is in addition to the registered nurse who is required to provide supervision.

7. To ensure adequate nursing staff for the nursery for normal newborns, duty schedules shall be developed and actual shift staffing shall occur according to the following minimum nurse to patient ratios:

a. 1:4 Recently born infants and those needing close observation.

b. 1:8 Newborns needing only routine care.

c. 1:4 Mother-newborn routine care.

8. Student nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing aides who assist in the nursing care of newborn infants shall be under the direct supervision of a registered nurse.

9. At least one nurse on each shift who is skilled in neonatal cardiopulmonary resuscitation must be immediately available to the nursery.

10. All nursing personnel assigned to the newborn service shall have orientation to the nursery, including orientation to patient care appropriate for the service level provided.

G. The nursing direction, staff and coverage required of the intermediate level newborn service shall be the same as required of the general level newborn service with the following exceptions:

1. To ensure adequate nursing staff for the nursery, duty schedules shall be developed and actual shift staffing shall occur according to a ratio of at least one nurse to four neonates.

2. All registered nurses assigned to the newborn service shall be trained in neonatal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

H. The nursing direction, staff and coverage for the specialty level newborn service shall be the same as the lower level newborn service levels with the following exceptions:

1. The newborn nursery service shall have a nurse manager. The nurse manager shall be a registered nurse with advanced training and experience in the nursing management of high-risk neonates and their families. The responsibilities of the nurse manager shall include, but not be limited to:

a. Daily management of the nursery;

b. Supervision and evaluation of nursing personnel assigned to the nursery;

c. Assuring nursing coverage 24 hours a day; and

d. Implementing nursing policies and procedures at the service level.

2. All registered nurses shall have advanced training and experience in the management of neonatal patients, including specialized care technology and ventilator care for neonates. Only registered nurses with this advanced training and experience shall be assigned to care for neonates on ventilators.

3. To ensure adequate nursing staff for the nursery, duty schedules shall be developed and actual shift staffing shall occur according to a ratio of at least one nurse to three patients for neonates requiring specialty level care. For those neonates who have been assessed as no longer needing specialty level care, nurse to patient ratios shall be according to the neonate's appropriate level of service.

I. The nursing direction, staff and coverage for the subspecialty level newborn service shall be the same as all lower levels of newborn services with the following exceptions:

1. A neonatal clinical nurse specialist shall be assigned to the nursery, duties and responsibilities shall include staff consultation, collaboration, and teaching.

2. All registered nurses shall have advanced training and experience, beyond what is required of nurses in the lower level nurseries, in the management of high-risk neonates, including the care of unstable neonates with multisystem problems.

3. To ensure adequate nursing staff for the nursery, duty schedules shall be developed and actual shift staffing shall occur according to the following minimum nurse to patient ratios for neonates requiring subspecialty level care:

a. 1:2 Neonates requiring subspecialty level care; and

b. 1:1 Neonates requiring multisystem support.

For those neonates who have been assessed as no longer needing subspecialty level care, nurse to patient ratios shall be according to the neonate's appropriate level of service.

4. All nursing patient care shall be provided by registered nurses assigned to the subspecialty level nursery.

J. The governing body shall adopt written policies and procedures approved by the medical and nursing staff of the service, for the medical care of newborns.

K. The policies and procedures for the general level nursery and all higher levels of newborn services shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Medical criteria for the identification of high-risk neonatal patients.

2. Protocols for the management of all neonatal medical conditions that are routinely managed by the service as well as protocols for the stabilization and transfer of neonates that require a higher level of newborn service. These protocols shall be maintained in the nursery in addition to the telephone numbers of each nursery and the names of each referral newborn service medical director.

3. Written collaboration agreements with hospitals with higher levels of newborn services. A hospital may enter into more than one collaboration agreement. The collaboration agreements shall specifically identify those medical conditions that require consultation and may necessitate a neonatal transfer as well as the interim treatment required prior to transfer. Nothing in the regulation shall require a birth hospital to enter into a collaboration agreement with a referral hospital that disagrees with the medical, consultation and transfer protocols adopted by the birth hospital. All neonatal transfers shall conform with Section 1867 of the Social Security Act, its amendments in force to date and implementing regulations. At the time of any transfer, the medical treatment at the referral hospital shall outweigh the risks to the neonate from affecting the transfer. The collaboration agreements shall include, but not be limited to:

a. Criteria for neonatal transfer to the referral nursery;

b. Procedures for neonatal transport;

c. Back transfer criteria which provides for the return of the neonate to the referring hospital when medically appropriate;

d. Annual review by both parties of all cases of neonatal transfer;

e. Annual review by both parties of the collaboration agreements; and

f. Annual evaluation by both parties of the collaboration agreement and modification of the agreement, as necessary, as indicated by the evaluation results.

4. Establishment and maintenance of an ongoing, documented quality assurance program by the service that utilizes a multidisciplinary team of health practitioners and administrators for review and is integrated with the hospital's overall quality assurance program.

a. The quality assurance program shall include:

(1) Problem identification;

(2) Action plans;

(3) Evaluation; and

(4) Follow-up.

b. The quality assurance program shall include an annual review of the following:

(1) Neonatal transfer cases;

(2) Management of in-house neonatal cases; and

(3) Staff in-house inservice programs.

c. Outcome statistics, including morbidity, mortality, and the appropriateness of neonatal transfers, shall be compiled in a standardized manner and reviewed quarterly by a multidisciplinary committee.

5. Immediate resuscitation and stabilization of the sick neonate in accordance with current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) standards of the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

6. Care of newborns after delivery to include the following:

a. Care of eyes, skin and umbilical cord and the provision of a single parenteral dose of Vitamin K-1, water soluble, as a prophylaxis against hemorrhagic disorder;

b. Maintenance of the newborn's airway, respiration, and body temperature; and

c. Assessment of the newborn and recording of the one-minute and five-minute Apgar scores.

7. Performance of prophylaxis against ophthalmia neonatorum by the administration of a 1.0% solution of silver nitrate aqueous solution, erythromycin, or tetracycline ointment or solution. This process is to be performed within one hour of delivery with documentation entered in the newborn's medical record. The process may be performed in the nursery.

8. Clamping or tying of the umbilical cord and, when indicated, collecting a sample of cord blood.

9. Performance of Rh type and Coombs' test for every newborn born to a Rh negative mother and performing major blood grouping and Coombs' tests when indicated for every newborn born to an O blood group mother or a mother with a family history of blood incompatibility. If such qualitative tests are performed, the results shall be documented in the newborn's medical record.

10. Identification and treatment of hyperbilirubinemia and hypoglycemia.

11. Identification of each newborn, prior to leaving the delivery room, with two identification bands fastened on the newborn and one identification band fastened on the mother. The newborn's medical record shall accompany the infant from the delivery room.

12. Newborn transport, within the hospital, of all newborns who are either premature or compromised by using a heated bassinet equipped with oxygen, a transport incubator or other similar equipment.

13. Registered nurse or physician assessment of a newborn within one hour after delivery and documentation of the assessment in the newborn's medical record. Assessment in the delivery area is permitted if the hospital permits a newborn and its mother to remain together during the immediate post-delivery period.

14. Delineation of how infants are to be monitored during stays with their mothers and under what circumstances infants must be taken to the nursery immediately after delivery and not allowed to remain with their mothers.

15. Physician examination of the newborn consistent with guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. A high-risk newborn shall be examined upon admission to the nursery.

16. Ensuring that every bassinet and incubator in the nursery bears the identification of the newborn's last name, sex, date and time of birth, the mother's last name, and the attending physician's name.

17. The management of mothers who utilize breast milk with their newborns. Breast milk shall be collected in aseptic containers, dated, stored under refrigeration and consumed or disposed of within 24-48 hours of collection if the breast milk has not been frozen. This policy pertains to breast milk collected while in the hospital or at home for hospital use.

18. Preparation and use of formula including, but not limited to:

a. The distribution of feeding units immediately after assembly;

b. The use of prepared formula only within the time period designated on the package; and

c. The use of presterilized formula only, except in the case of facility-defined emergencies.

19. Screening newborns for risk factors associated with hearing impairment as required in §§ 32.1-64.1 and 32.1-64.2 of the Code of Virginia and in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Health governing the Virginia Hearing Impairment Identification and Monitoring System (12VAC5-80).

20. Screening and treatment of genetic, metabolic, and other diseases identifiable in the newborn period as specified in § 32.1-65 of the Code of Virginia and in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Newborn Screening and Treatment Program (12VAC5-70).

21. Reporting to the Department of Health all required reportable congenital defects.

22. Visitor contact with the newborn, including newborns delivered by cesarean section, and premature, sick, congenitally malformed, and dying newborns.

23. Completion of birth certificates.

24. Discharge planning appropriate for the needs of the patient for at-risk infants.

L. The additional policies and procedures required for the intermediate level newborn service shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Insertion and maintenance of peripheral intravenous lines and use of pediatric infusion pumps that are accurate to plus or minus one milliliter an hour;

2. Insertion and maintenance of umbilical arterial lines and the use of pediatric infusion pumps accurate to plus or minus one milliliter an hour;

3. Use of heated, humidified, and blended supplemental oxygen by hood with a recording of oxygen levels every hour using a calibrated constant oxygen analyzer. The policy shall address consultation with a higher level nursery identified in the collaboration agreement when oxygen levels exceed 40% and remain at 40% or greater for a period of four hours or more;

4. Administration of nasogastric or orogastric feedings;

5. Use of saturation monitor (pulse oximeter or equivalent) for any newborn requiring supplemental oxygen;

6. Use of assisted ventilation in preparation for transport;

7. Initiation of PgE1 prior to transport; and

8. Administration of blood components and a policy for provision of partial and total exchange transfusions.

M. The additional policies and procedures required for the specialty level newborn service shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Provision of ongoing assisted ventilation;

2. Administration of surfactant;

3. Preparation and administration of total parenteral nutrition (TPN);

4. Initiation and maintenance of pressor medications;

5. Provision for developmental follow up;

6. Insertion and maintenance of central umbilical arterial catheters or peripheral arterial lines with constant pressure monitoring;

7. Placement of chest tubes with water seal on an emergency basis;

8. Use of heated, humidified, and blended supplemental oxygen by hood with a recording of oxygen levels every hour using a calibrated constant oxygen analyzer;

9. Administration and maintenance of CPAP including the requirement for in-house physician coverage;

10. Daily availability of appropriate drug peak and trough assays on one milliliter or less of blood;

11. Cardioversion capability specific for newborns; and

12. Provision for ophthalmology consult and requirements regarding the examination of high-risk newborns.

N. The additional policies and procedures required for the subspecialty level newborn service shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Provision for returning patients to the operating room within 30 minutes, if indicated;

2. Provision for echocardiography evaluation;

3. Provision for patient treatment on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) or a written collaboration agreement with a hospital with this capability;

4. Provision for maintenance of central venous pressure monitoring; and

5. Provision for the maintenance of neonates on prostaglandin E1 (PgE1).

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-127 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Former 12VAC5-41-440 D 3 to 6 derived from VR 355-33-500 § 2.28, eff. July 28, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 11, Issue 8, eff. April 1, 1995; Volume 11, Issue 16, eff. June 1, 1995; Volume 11, Issue 21, eff. August 10, 1995; amended and adopted as 12VAC5-410-444, Virginia Register Volume 21, Issue 6, eff. February 14, 2005; Errata, 21:8 VA.R. 1016 December 27, 2004; amended, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 8, eff. January 25, 2006; Errata, 22:9 VA.R. 1437 January 9, 2006.

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