The mission of the PREMIEre Program is to ensure infants with complex medical conditions and developmental challenges due to prematurity, catastrophic illness at birth, or environmental factors are evaluated for growth, neurological, and developmental abnormalities in an intense care-coordinated program with developmental testing, appropriate interventions, and family education.
- To have a specialized program for all South Texas babies born prematurely at less than 32 weeks completed gestation and weighing less than 3.5 lbs at birth available through referral by the primary care physicians.
- To have a parent education program that begins before the infant is discharged home from the nursery. To enable the family to become knowledgeable about their baby’s developmental needs in order to help the infant to achieve maximum potential and to empower families with information to access healthcare.
- To provide developmental age-appropriate testing and enhance development.
- To conduct research and educational programs that will further the knowledge of premature infant development, of how families access healthcare for their children, and of health disparities in those areas.
The program offers extensive developmental assessments in the areas of growth, nutrition, mental and motor development, speech, and behavior up to five years of age. The clinic is staffed by an educational psychologist, a full-time coordinator, nurse case managers, pediatric nurse practitioner, and a medical director specialized in neonatology. Early coordinated intervention is planned to address the NICU survivor’s health and development so the child can continue to grow and develop new skills. The family is connected with appropriate services taking into account transportation and insurance. The assessments also serve as framework for teaching parents about nurturing infant development and their role in guiding the growth and development of their own baby. The program is open for referral of NICU surviving infants throughout San Antonio and South Texas. It began in 1979 and serves about 800 patient visits a year with about 120 new patients added every year.
A PREMIEre Reunion and celebration is organized every year in October for NICU survivors.