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Date Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Growing to Care for More NICU Babies: WMCHealth Initiates Capital Campaign for $1.2 Million Expansion and Enhancement of Regional Neonatal ICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital

Unit Cares for Some of the Nation’s Tiniest and Sickest Newborns: Capital Campaign Supporting Construction to Include Proceeds from 100.7 WHUD Radiothon and Other Events

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VALHALLA, N.Y. (October 23, 2019) – The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) has initiated a capital fundraising campaign to support a multiphase, $1.2 million investment project to expand and enhance the advanced-care services provided to families in the Isaac and Naomi Kaplan Family Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) at the Network’s Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

The RNICU provides care for the Hudson Valley’s most at-risk newborns, including extreme low-birth-weight babies, some of whom were born as early as 22-weeks gestation (compared to a normal gestation period of 40 weeks) as well as full-term babies with congenital disorders and rare diseases. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is internationally recognized for saving and nurturing some of the smallest babies ever born including a 9-ounce baby girl in 2015 and an 11-ounce boy in 2018.

Expanding and Enhancing Care for NICU Babies

The project will add eight care areas to the RNICU, bringing its licensed bed count to 57, while maximizing safety, operational efficiency and family comfort.

“We are the only resource providing this level of advanced neonatal care in the Hudson Valley, an area of more than 6,000 square miles and 3 million residents,” said Edmund La Gamma, MD, Chief of Newborn Medicine and Director of the Regional Neonatal Center at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. “The daily demands of caring for babies in the Regional NICU are great, and this enhancement will enable us to provide the highest level of care to more newborns right here in the Hudson Valley.”

Other project highlights include: centralized bedside monitoring with specialized software to record and analyze patient data; new family waiting area, including secured storage spaces for families’ belongings; new, upgraded nurses’ station; and environmental upgrades including new furniture, windows and wall/floor surfaces.


A Vital Hudson Valley Resource

The RNICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital works in close partnership with Westchester Medical Center’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Program, which, like the RNICU, is an advanced care resource for Hudson Valley community hospitals. The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Program cares for expectant mothers experiencing high-risk pregnancies that endanger themselves, their baby or both.

These collaborative services have garnered Westchester Medical Center/Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital a Regional Perinatal Center designation, the highest provided by the New York State Department of Health. It is one of just 17 regional neonatal centers of its kind statewide, with community birthing hospitals around the Hudson Valley transferring their most complex cases to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s RNICU for care.

More than 700 critical-care cases are transferred or admitted to the RNICU annually, according to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital records, and the unit has one of the highest acuity (severity of illness) rates in the United States. Despite the complexity of cases, the RNICU maintains success rates equal to or above the national average among similar, large regional neonatal centers*.

Supporting Advanced Neonatal Care

The community at large has the opportunity to play a hand in the health and well-being of the Hudson Valley’s most at-risk babies through a supportive capital campaign launched by WMCHealth.

A signature component of this philanthropic campaign supporting the RNICU project will be the 100.7 WHUD Radiothon for the Kids November 20-22, 2019. Throughout the three-day broadcast originating from the lobby of the hospital, 100.7 WHUD signature on-air personalities Mike Bennett, Kacey Morabito Grean, Tom Furci and Andy Bale will speak live with dozens of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital patients and families. All proceeds from the event will support the RNICU enhancement project. In 2018, the community’s support of the hospital through the Radiothon approached $300,000.

All proceeds from the annual Wines of the World food tasting/wine pairing event will also support the RNICU project. The 2019 event occurs October 24, at the Brae Burn Country Club.

Those interested in supporting the campaign for an expanded and enhanced RNICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital can do so by visiting or contacting the Westchester Medical Center Foundation at 914.493.2575 or

Artist Rendering of Expanded Area in Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital

*Stoll et al, The Journal of the American Medical Association 314(10):1039-51, 2015