Implementing a program of comprehensive neonatal follow-up care after hospital discharge for
inner city, high-risk infants reduces life-threatening illnesses and appears to reduce costs. Sue Broyles,
M.D., Jon E. Tyson, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical
Center at Dallas found that, when high-risk infants received comprehensive follow-up care, 47 percent
fewer of them died or developed life-threatening illnesses that required admission for pediatric intensive
care. High-risk infants were defined as those weighing less than 1,000 grams at birth or those weighing
1,001-1,500 grams who required mechanical ventilation. For all care between discharge and 1 year, the
estimated average cost per infant was $6,265 for comprehensive care and $9,913 for routine care.
Comprehensive follow-up care for high-risk infants was defined as 24-hour access to highly
experienced care givers and 5-day-a-week follow-up care, which included well-baby care, treatment for acute and chronic illnesses, and routine follow-up care. Routine follow-up care was available 2 days per
week and included well-baby care and chronic illness management.