Mountain Family Health Centers & Dr. Anneliese Heckert, DO, Basalt Site Medical Director
Mountain Family is thrilled and grateful to receive assistance from Colorado Springs-based Newborn Hope for treating neonatal jaundice in our tiniest patients. Newborn Hope is a nonprofit that provides resources for Colorado babies and families impacted by prematurity. The funding awarded to Mountain Family this spring will go towards purchasing equipment to use phototherapy, or light, to treat infants with neonatal jaundice.
Primary Care Physician Dr. Anneliese Heckert, DO, celebrated when receiving the news in April. Dr. Heckert, who is also Mountain Family’s Basalt Site Medical Director, has been leading the effort to find a way to treat neonatal jaundice after previous methods stopped being available last fall. Now, Mountain Family patients who develop jaundice after leaving the hospital must be readmitted. Although treatment may last only one or two days, that can cost around $4,000—a big expense on top of just having a baby and juggling new work and childcare needs.
Avoiding care and the cost is not an option for parents, as the consequences of neonatal jaundice are serious: if it becomes severe, infants may develop irreversible brain damage. The condition affects 5 – 30% of newborns, depending on demographics. Among Mountain Family hospitalized patients, the rate is 27% at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.
The funding from Newborn Hope will allow Mountain Family to purchase one “Bili blanket,” a phototherapy blanket named for its effects on the infant’s bilirubin levels. Dr. Heckert will work with Glenwood Springs/Edwards Site Medical Director on how best to strategically share the phototherapy among those sites. Mountain Family deeply appreciates support from Newborn Hope, and looks forward to continuing to serve our youngest patients and their families.