As of Monday, many critically ill eastern Kentucky children will not have to travel to Lexington for treatment.
Pikeville Medical Center opens Drs. RV and Jyothi Mettu Children’s Hospital, the first in the region, to provide inpatient and outpatient pediatric health care at its 13,400 square foot facility.
Before the Children’s Hospital opened, families with their sick children would visit Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington or Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville. Mettu Children’s Hospital will be able to care for children from birth to age 18 in eastern Kentucky and communities in the border states of southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia .
Donovan Blackburn, president and CEO of Pikeville Medical Center, said finding a way to serve children in the area had become a top priority years ago.
“Our kids have to travel, it’s not fair, it’s not fair,” Blackburn said. “As the largest regional institution, we had to tackle this. “
Before the Children’s Hospital opened, a child with appendicitis or a heart murmur would likely be referred to a specialist in Lexington.
“A child will now be able to see their extended family for support overnight,” said Blackburn. “A child will have access to emergency care instead of having delayed care when care is needed. A child will feel important during some of their scariest times because of today.
Pikeville Medical Center has added services to keep pediatric home care in the past two years. He opened the Appalachian Valley Autism Center in Pikeville and a satellite location in Floyd County. The autism center is the first and only one in the region. PMC has also built a pediatric wing in its emergency department. The hospital has also doubled its intensive neonatal unit from eight beds to 16 beds.
“Having or being a child with a serious illness is difficult at the best of times,” Dr. Aaron Crum, deputy managing director and chief medical officer, said in a video message at a dedication ceremony Thursday. “The goal of Pikeville Medical Center is to provide advanced pediatric specialty care right here at home.”
Governor Andy Beshear has said the people of Eastern Kentucky “will not be denied health care for our most important patients.”
Mettu Children’s Hospital began construction in August 2020 on the second floor of Pikeville Medical Center. In 2019, Pikeville Medical Center received an abandoned mining land pilot program a grant of $ 4.78 million and a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission of $ 1.5 million to support the project.
“The CRA is proud to have provided a grant under our POWER program which has been an important piece of the puzzle in helping this project come to fruition,” said CRA Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin in a statement. “This new pediatric care opportunity in eastern Kentucky will bring much needed relief to families, many of whom will no longer have to worry about leaving our area to receive quality care for their children.”
The Pikeville medical center also has received a donation of $ 1.5 million from Pikeville Drs. RV and Jyothi Mettu. Jyothi Mettu has been a pediatrician in the region for almost 30 years.
Inpatient services at the children’s hospital will include a family-friendly waiting room, 10 private patient rooms and a dining room. Outpatient facilities will include separate patient and sick waiting rooms, a check-in and registration area, 13 examination rooms, a medication room and a nursing station.
Blackburn said some children will need to travel outside the region for medical care, but a large majority can be treated in the children’s hospital.