Getting a second opinion at Norton Children’s Heart Institute

Norton Children’s Heart Institute
We welcome patients who want a second opinion. Talk to a member of our team today.

We know it’s a stressful time after learning your child will be born with a congenital heart condition, and it is common to want a second opinion.

We welcome families seeking second opinions at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. For families expecting babies with congenital heart defects and other heart conditions, planning the road ahead starts before delivery. We will walk with you through a thorough process, including an individualized care plan, before you make any decisions.

Your baby’s health is of utmost importance, and a second opinion can help you feel reassured that your baby is receiving the best care possible. We want every patient to feel comfortable and confident when their care is in our hands, and we are here to help you make the best decisions possible for you and your baby.

When you are seeking a second opinion, factors to consider include: the providers involved in the care, facilities, expertise in caring for a certain diagnosis, the personalized care plan and location.

Our team of specialists is affiliated with the University of Louisville School of Medicine and has the expertise, training and compassion to offer the highest-quality care that you and your baby deserve. Norton Children’s Heart Institute also has locations across Kentucky and Southern Indiana, providing convenient options for care closer to your home.

What to expect when getting a second opinion

Whether you have been a patient with Norton Healthcare or this is your first time stepping through our doors, we welcome everyone. Norton Children’s Heart Institute maintains relationships with many hospitals and referring providers across Kentucky and Southern Indiana, and we work collaboratively to reach the best decisions possible for each patient. Additional scans, such as a fetal echocardiogram, may be necessary during a second opinion, but not always.

Each family will go through a “meet the team” orientation, where a patient navigator sets up a single appointment to meet with specialists who will be part of your baby’s care team. You will be able to tour the neonatal intensive care unit and Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and review details for your personalized care plan — something that our providers tailor to each patient’s specific needs.

“No questions are off limits. This is your time to get any questions answered about our program, your baby’s treatment plan and future care. We want you to feel as informed, comfortable and confident as possible when making this decision,” said Stacie M. Hartlage, R.N., patient navigator with Norton Children’s Heart Institute.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute is very inclusive when it comes to working with patients’ local providers. In our model, your referring provider remains part of your care team, which means there are regular updates and their participation in care conferences.

Our team and its multidisciplinary expertise

As part of our fetal cardiology program, we hold a care plan meeting with your family prior to the baby’s birth. Expectant parents might meet with a Norton Children’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician, who is part of Norton Women’s Care; a cardiothoracic surgeon; a fetal cardiologist; a neonatal intensive care physician; a cardiac intensive care specialist; a member of the behavioral and mental health team; palliative care support staff; and a social worker. If surgery will be required, you will meet with the care plan team and learn about the upcoming procedures or operations, and will receive a packet with all the information you’ll need.

Our team meets for regular care conferences to monitor your baby’s progress and make adjustments to the delivery plan and post-delivery plan throughout your pregnancy. Prior to delivery, each case is reviewed by the fetal board. After delivery, a heart board meets weekly to discuss patients’ conditions and treatment.

Does insurance cover second opinions?

You will want to consult with your health insurance company ahead of getting a second opinion. Health plans can vary by patient; some insurance plans require a referral from your original provider, while others simply may require that patients choose in-network care.