New York State's system of regionalized perinatal services includes a hierarchy of four levels of perinatal care provided by the hospitals within a region and led by a Regional Perinatal Center (RPC).
The regional system is led by an RPC that is capable of providing all the services and expertise required by the most acutely sick or at-risk pregnant women and newborns. The concentration of high-risk patients makes it possible to enhance and maintain the level of expertise in the care of high-risk obstetric and neonatal patients, as well as justify the substantial expense required to establish and maintain neonatal intensive care units and attending-level subspecialty consultation. RPCs provide or coordinate maternal-fetal and newborn transfers of high-risk patients from their affiliate hospitals to the RPC, and are responsible for support, education, consultation and improvements in the quality of care in the affiliate hospitals within their region.
The four levels of perinatal care within the regionalization system vary by the types of patients that are treated, availability of sub-specialty consultation, qualifications of staff, types of equipment available and volume of high-risk perinatal patients treated. Besides the RPC, there are three other levels of care: