Delaware’s Health Resources Board is expected to meet on Thursday, Aug. 15, to approve or deny applications from both Bayhealth and Beebe Healthcare, which want to build freestanding emergency departments within 10 miles of each other, between Georgetown and Lewes.
The meeting was originally set for July 25 but was delayed because there wouldn’t have been a quorum of board members present.
Certain healthcare facilities and projects that are reviewable through a certificate-of-public-review must be approved by the State, explained John Van Gorp, senior vice president of Planning & Business Development at Bayhealth in Dover. Those facilities include those with in-patient beds, catherization labs and emergency departments.
The Health Resources Board previously assigned three committee members to review the requests. That subcommittee recommended denying the applications, largely because Gov. John Carney wants to cut healthcare costs statewide by lessening emergency-department use, unless absolutely necessary.
Carney pledged to limit “unnecessary use of the ER,” saying emergency-room visits are more expensive than urgent-care visits.
Bayhealth is hoping to put a 35,000-square-foot complex — including doctors’ offices with extended hours, and that accept walk-ins — at Route 9 and Hudson Road in Harbeson, Van Gorp said. It would open in 2021 and cost $15.5 million to $17.2 million.
Beebe’s plan is to build a 14,000-square-foot, $20 million freestanding emergency department on Route 404 in Georgetown, about 7 miles from Bayhealth’s proposed site. It is anticipated that 63 people, including doctors, would be hired for that facility. It would open in the summer of 2021.
Beebe is already building a free-standing emergency department in Millville. Costing $48 million, it is expected to open in January 2020, offering services including CAT scans, ultrasound and imaging.
By Susan Canfora