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Perinatal Regionalization

A significant cause of infant mortality is prematurity. In Arkansas as elsewhere, maternal and newborn intensive care for very premature deliveries and births has reduced mortality for those most at risk. However, access to perinatal intensive care services in NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) is inconsistent and this state has lacked formal public policy to address the inconsistencies. Regionalization of NICUs will increase the likelihood that a mother and infant receive risk-appropriate medical care in order to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, and to minimize cost. With this in mind, a NICU Regionalization Committee (later renamed the Arkansas Perinatal Regionalization Committee) was created by the Arkansas Department of Health to examine the issue and to make recommendations. Their recommendations include the following levels:

The Perinatal Regionalization Committee report, and an attachment to the report with more detailed information on the recommend levels of care, may be found in the links below.

*These are recommendations, approved by the Arkansas Board of Health, and are not regulations at this point in time.

Birthing Hospitals

In June 2015, birthing hospitals across the state of Arkansas agreed to participate in a voluntary self-verification of their nursery classification levels. The process includes self-evaluation and classification by each hospital nursery, followed by verification through site visit (for levels III and IV) or review of the self-evaluation checklist (for levels I and II) by physicians on the Perinatal Regionalization Committee. 

The following birthing hospitals and Arkansas Children’s Hospital have completed the voluntary verification process as of May 1, 2016

Level IV

Level III-B

Level III-A

Level II

Level I

Family Planning


State Resources

National Resources

National Organizations

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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