Helping children get specialty care closer to home has long been a priority for Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center. While the services have steadily grown over time, the limited number of pediatric specialists practicing in the region left many families driving hours away to get timely care.

To accelerate the expansion, Novant Health partnered with UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine in 2021 to add resources to the program and bring more specialists to the area.

“It’s now only a two-week wait to see a pediatric cardiologist,” said Dr. Yvonne Paris, medical director and pediatric cardiologist at Novant Health Nunnelee Pediatric Multispecialty Care. “Earlier access is important. Patients are much happier, and, if they’re closer to home, the likelihood of them following up on their scheduled appointments is higher, which means better care.”

Cardiology is just one example of how Novant Health has been reinforcing existing services to expand pediatric specialty care.

“We have been bolstering the services that we already offer to improve our access both locally and regionally,” said Dr. Michael Jaskolka, director of children’s surgery at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “We’ve been working to improve access by reducing local wait times and by expanding our areas of service.”

Novant Health now has outreach clinics in Onslow and Brunswick counties. Children also see physicians and receive treatment at Novant Health Nunnelee Pediatric Multispecialty Care - Autumn Hall and Novant Health Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital, both located in Wilmington. By building up existing services and establishing more locations for care, expansion has been accomplished across core medical specialties: cardiology, neurology, pulmonology and gastroenterology, with endocrinology underway.

Pediatric patients can also now receive care for hematology, rheumatology, urology, neurology and nephrology conditions, as well as for feeding disorders.

This is all part of Novant Health’s strategy to build out children’s services.

Novant Health New Hanover Medical Center has been established as a central location for pediatric care, with a Level III NICU (Level IV is the highest), pediatric intensive care, 24/7 full-time pediatric hospitalists, pediatric and thoracic surgeries as core services, and a fully listed cleft and craniofacial program. The program is supported with dedicated pediatric anesthesiology and radiology, a child-focused MRI suite, and child life specialists to help children adjust to hospitalization.

Now, Novant Health is establishing itself as an easy-to-access pediatric specialty care network for the greater Wilmington area.

“Pediatric service expansion has been a recognized need for a long time in the area,” Jaskolka said. “It’s part of the transformation of Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center into a regional referral center.”

To make a referral: Novant Health Nunnelee Pediatric Multispecialty Care referral line: 910-662-8941