Beebe Healthcare’s Board of Directors earlier this month approved a proposal for a comprehensive expansion of the system over the next several years. The $180 million expansion will touch three communities — Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Millville.
On Route 17, the Beebe Healthcare — a not-for-profit community healthcare system — will construct a long-anticipated year-round freestanding emergency department, as well as a comprehensive satellite facility of Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center that will include the ability to deliver radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
“The free-standing emergency department will have 22 treatment bays and will be open year-round, 24-hours a day,” said Patricia W. Matsko, coordinator for Beebe Healthcare’s publications and media relations. “It will have all the services required of emergency departments licensed in Delaware. It will include a helipad for emergency transports to other area hospitals when that is needed.”
The site will be designed to complement the facilities that already exist on Route 26, which include full diagnostic imaging, physical rehabilitation services, laboratory and walk-in care.
The larger expansion project will include the Lewes hospital, creating all-private rooms for complex medical and surgical inpatients. The expansion there will also include a new labor-and-delivery wing.
In Rehoboth, Beebe plans to develop a specialty surgical center for inpatient and outpatient procedures. Surgical procedures there will be focused on less-complex cases for patients requiring a shorter inpatient stay. They will also establish a Minimally Invasive Surgical Center of Excellence at the site.
With the coastal areas being in a time of tremendous population growth, Beebe worked with consultants to plan for the expansions.
“Hammes Company guided the hospital in evaluating population growth and trends in hospital utilization and surgery,” Matsko said. “Hammes Company developed the various options for serving inpatients.
“Oncology Solutions was engaged to study the incidence and treatment of cancer in the region and inform the decision to build a full-service satellite facility in Millville. And Freeman White was engaged to evaluate the need for emergency care throughout the region, recommended expanding this service in Millville, and crafted an operating plan for the proposed freestanding emergency department.”
All three expansions are to be pursued simultaneously, said Matsko, with the first phase of construction to begin as early as the fall of 2018.
“Our community is an attractive place to live and keeps growing. Beebe remains committed to expanding with it and to meeting the healthcare needs of the people who live in and visit the area,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare.
“As we acquire the latest technology and equipment, hire more physicians and improve our systems, patient and physician demand for Beebe services has increased. We think our plan is an innovative response to growth of the population, to expectations of healthcare customers for excellent service provided in convenient locations, and the insurance companies’ requirements that we be as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
“We’re very excited to share our vision for healthcare services with everyone today.”
The $180 million expected cost of the expansion will be paid for, in part, from charitable contributions being sought in a major capital campaign led by the Beebe Medical Foundation.
“We have so many grateful patients in this community, many who have given back to Beebe in one form or another. With our advanced thanks, the community’s philanthropic support will be critical to bring this vision to life,” stated Judy Aliquo, president of the Beebe Medical Foundation.
More details of the expansion are expected to be released in the next several months. Currently, there are no site plans. Beebe will be holding community meetings following the summer season for the community to attend and learn more about the expansion.
“Beebe Healthcare has continued to grow and expand over the last 101 years. To continue to serve our community, this next step is essential,” said the Hon. William Swain Lee, Beebe Board of Directors chairman.
“In 1916, Beebe was a two-room hospital. What will we look like 100 years from now? It is hard to say. However, what we do know is that our community is growing and we need to grow along with it to continue to provide the most advanced medical care for those who live, work, worship and visit us here in Sussex County.”