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Mountain View Hospital opens new Level III NICU


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IDAHO FALLS — After more than a year of construction, Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls has opened its new neonatal intensive care unit to patients and families.

The Level III NICU opened just about two weeks ago in October. Regan Fregoso, Mountain View Hospital’s NICU manager, told the hospital is now able to care for babies born as young as 28 weeks in its new, expanded NICU.

Fregoso said Mountain View’s NICU will be able to care for up to 14 babies at a time.

According to a press release, babies who need to spend time in the NICU will have their own dedicated space for more privacy. Each area was designed to make sure families have what they need, including breast pumps, milk warmers and comfortable spaces to relax, and features a local nature scene to ease stress.
“It was a significant investment. It was really important for us to do it right. We were really invested with getting the top-of-the-line equipment, getting the best doctors and the best nurses,” she said.

According to Fregoso, the idea for the new NICU came about two years ago, because of their limited ability to care for neonatal infants.

The very first NICU for Mountain View Hospital was created about 20 years ago and was the size of a closet that could only hold about two patients. At that time, the hospital was able to care for infants 35 weeks and older.

“From there, we grew into a little four or five-bed NICU space and so we are so excited to have this new NICU space where we have so much room. Families have room that they can spend time with their newborn,” she said.

Fregoso explained there are about 20 nurses that work on rotating shifts and there are about three to four physicians.

“We were extremely nervous about being in the NICU and then after we got to meet some of the nurses, we felt completely comfortable,” said James Zovi, who is from Rigby.

NICU baby
James Zovi with his son and wife | Andrea Olson,

Zovi is currently caring for his newborn in the NICU with his wife. His son, named after James, has been in the NICU since he was born on Oct. 28.

NICU baby2
James Zovi III | Andrea Olson,

“He had some issues with his lungs not being developed. The NICU took fantastic care of us. They checked him and they just went above and beyond. The nurses here just surpass anywhere else that I’ve been, so it’s fantastic,” said Zovi.

Fregoso added Mountain View Hospital built its NICU using the latest technology available. The equipment is designed to regulate temperature for optimal health, provide the perfect amount of lighting to avoid overstimulation and reduce noise to protect baby’s highly sensitive ears.

“I really do think this is just the beginning for us. I really do see us expanding more in the future and being able to serve more patients,” said Fregoso. “The thing that I am most excited about is just that the community has choices now. It was very obvious in the community that there was a need for this.”

Find out more about Mountain View’s NICU here.

Another hospital in town, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, has a Level III NICU with 26 beds and has a capacity for 32 neonates because twins are often “co-bedded.”