Riley Achieves Big Milestone for Moms and Babies Thanks to Donors

Level IV designations blog 2020.08.17 Full Size

“There’s no way we could have done anything like this without donors.”

Nicole Toole is adamant about that when it comes to the latest Riley milestone. As Director of Riley Maternity and Newborn Health, she knows exactly what it took to earn Indiana’s highest certification level for maternity and neonatal care. 

Last month, the Indiana State Department of Health made it official: Riley Maternity and Newborn Health has earned Level IV designations for both its Obstetrics program and its Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “What this means is that our moms and babies have access to the best care that could possibly be provided,” says Toole. “Our team is equipped to care for the sickest of the sick. There is nowhere else you would need to go for those services.”



Donors through Riley Children’s Foundation fueled many of the improvements that were critical in earning this status, including funding for the Fetal Center at Riley Children’s Health. The Fetal Center now serves more than 250 expectant mothers each year, coordinating the many specialists who need to be involved when babies have prenatally diagnosed complications.

“Some of the gaps we needed to address were in care coordination between specialists for high-risk patients,” Toole explains. “The Fetal Center was a critical piece in our growth. A big component of the Level IV designation is communication and collaboration, and specialists working together to take care of both mother and baby. I walked our state surveyors through our Fetal Center. They thought the work we were doing was amazing. Having that one place we can bring everyone together to center around the mom and have that collaboration amongst the specialists is so beneficial.” 

Donor support also enabled Riley to expand its team of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists from two to 10. This expansion was vital in addressing a statewide shortage of providers to care for women with high-risk pregnancies.


Toole anticipates Riley will become classified as a Perinatal Center once the state finalizes that designation process. This will expand and formalize Riley’s already-prominent leadership role in collaborating with other health care providers across the state. As a Perinatal Center must do, Riley offers advanced training to providers in its Perinatal network and takes on their referrals and transfers when complex patients need the highest level of care. 

More big changes are also coming soon including the 2021 opening of the Maternity Tower at Riley Hospital for Children, which will bring all care for mothers and babies under one roof. The four-floor tower at Riley Hospital’s downtown campus contains a labor and delivery, a high-risk antepartum unit, OB ICU and postpartum unit. The Maternity Tower will also house a Level III NICU and when combined with the already existing Riley NICU in the Simon Family Tower, Riley will house one of the nation’s highest numbers of NICU beds.

It’s all part of a revolution aimed at saving the lives and improving the health of mothers and babies in Indiana. Infant mortality is starting to drop. More moms with high-risk pregnancies are finding their way to Riley’s specialists. And all of this is possible because of YOUR generosity. “The gifts donors have given have been vital, key components to us being able to make it to Level IV,” says Toole. “It is a great thing that we were able to do this for our patients and provide that service to our state.” 

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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