Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Dignity Health in Arizona announced plans to open a pediatric inpatient unit inside Dignity Health’s Mercy Gilbert Medical Center in October.

Leaders of Phoenix Children’s and Dignity Health said they have agreed to launch the Phoenix Children’s licensed pediatric inpatient unit after discussions and consultations with local families, pediatricians and primary care physicians. Renovations for the new unit will begin this month.

The opening of the unit will greatly enhance East Valley pediatric inpatient care and provide families and area physicians much-needed access to the breadth and depth of services offered only at Phoenix Children’s. It adds to the presence Arizona’s largest children’s hospital already has in the region, which includes Phoenix Children’s – East Valley Center, which offers specialty, urgent care and outpatient surgery, and a Phoenix Children’s Medical Group specialty care center on the Mercy Gilbert campus.

“The East Valley needs and deserves a leading provider of pediatric inpatient care,” said Robert L. Meyer, president and CEO of Phoenix Children’s. “The opening of this unit on the campus of Mercy Gilbert Medical Center is the next step in Phoenix Children’s alliance with Dignity Health and brings to the community a quality of pediatric inpatient clinical care that’s unmatched in the East Valley.”

The 22-bed unit will offer around-the-clock pediatric coverage staffed by Phoenix Children’s hospitalists for children requiring observation or inpatient care. Children with more complex conditions requiring advanced care have direct access to Phoenix Children’s main campus where a full array of dedicated subspecialists and resources are available.

“This new pediatric unit will further complement the health care services Mercy Gilbert offers the East Valley,” said Tim Bricker, president and CEO of Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers. “The ability to have Phoenix Children’s advanced services much closer to home will allow us to provide access to a high level of care to the youngest patients in our community.”

The announcement of the East Valley pediatric unit is just the latest in a series of agreements that have brought the two organizations closer. In 2011, the organizations entered into a strategic alliance that transferred the majority of Dignity Health in Arizona’s pediatric services to Phoenix Children’s main campus.

Earlier this year, Phoenix Children’s Care Network (PCCN), the state’s only pediatric-focused clinically integrated organization, affiliated with Arizona Care Network (ACN), a clinically integrated accountable care organization led by physicians and supported by Dignity Health in Arizona and Abrazo Health. This agreement will strengthen each network’s ability to serve the health care needs of patients of all ages through improved quality and cost management. More than 2,000 physicians are represented through this affiliation, including 600 pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists from across the Phoenix metropolitan area.