Friday, Oct 7, 2022

Niswonger Children’s Network strengthens regional system of children’s care, unveils new pediatric emergency department at Indian Path Community Hospital

The Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network is strengthening its system of care for children by unveiling a new pediatric emergency department in Kingsport.

Now open, the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network Pediatric Emergency Department at Indian Path Community Hospital runs from noon to midnight every day. It features a shared entrance with the regular emergency department, a separate waiting area for families of patients and four pediatric exam rooms, as well as a dedicated pediatric-trained staff at Indian Path and telemedicine capabilities with the Niswonger Children’s Network to provide increased access to specialized pediatric care.

“Our focus is to provide the best possible care to children in this region, right where they need it,” said Chris Jett, chief executive officer of the Niswonger Children’s Network. “An emergency department focusing on pediatric care ensures our clinical experts are ready to serve local families and children the moment the need arises.

“This warm and compassionate setting, designed specifically for children, will help reduce anxiety for families during an already difficult time, and the medical professionals working in this department are an ideal team, delivering quality care that is a hallmark of the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network.”

The new space is kid-friendly with bright colors and patterns. Patients in the pediatric emergency department also have access to child life specialists to support their care and promote normalcy within an unfamiliar or potentially stressful environment by teaching through medical play and therapy.

“Visiting an emergency department can be an intimidating experience for children,” said Dr. Lauren Py, emergency department medical director at Ballad Health’s Kingsport hospitals. “They’re not just little adults – they have unique needs, which means we need medical professionals who specialize in children’s health and care, as well as equipment designed for young people of all sizes, from babies to young adults.”

If emergency services are needed outside pediatric emergency department hours, patients can be seen in the regular emergency department at Indian Path, as well as at the 24/7 pediatric emergency department at Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City. Additionally, in the event a child requires advanced care, the pediatric emergency staff has access to the full services and providers of Ballad Health and the Niswonger Children’s Network, including a roster of pediatric specialists, advanced diagnostic capabilities and regionwide resources for further care.

The pediatric emergency department is also the latest component of the Center for Women and Babies at Indian Path, which seamlessly links patients to the Niswonger Children’s Network. The consolidation of women and children’s services – including the Barbara Humphreys Birthing Center – to one location centralizes strong teams of caregivers and specialists in Kingsport to give patients better access to the care they need.

“We are expanding the reach of high-quality pediatric emergency and OB/GYN care at Indian Path, and local women and children can count on specialized care right here in our community,” said Julie Bennett, lead independent director and vice chair of the Ballad Health Board of Directors. “Since the beginning, we have been committed to listening to what our residents and leaders in Kingsport want and need from local healthcare, which has been a perfect fit with Ballad Health’s initiatives that are focused on women and children in our communities.

“With the addition of this new pediatric emergency department, we’re bringing a whole new level of care to Kingsport, and we’re so excited to offer this service.”

The Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network Pediatric Emergency Department at Indian Path marks the health system’s third pediatric emergency department in the Appalachian Highlands, following the establishment of pediatric emergency departments at Niswonger Children’s Hospital and the J.D. Nicewonder Family Pediatric Emergency Department at Bristol Regional Medical Center. It is also the latest pediatric access point for children in the region, as the children’s network is expanding services inside and beyond hospitals across the Appalachian Highlands – which is made possible by generous gifts from donors and community supporters.

“We’re proud to be a part of a community that has always stood ready to assist children in need,” said Jack Simpson, president of Ballad Health Foundation. “Every donation helps provide resources that help produce healthy outcomes for our region’s children and ensures the children of the Appalachian Highlands have access to the best possible facilities, equipment, programs and personnel to meet their healthcare needs.”

More information about Ballad Health’s pediatric emergency services is available at, while additional information about the Niswonger Children’s Network is available at Gifts to the Niswonger Children’s Network can be made year-round at