Peninsula Regional looks to annex site into Millsboro

A request from Peninsula Regional Health System to annex into Millsboro town limits about 40 acres of land north of the town, to build an ambulatory health complex, is expected to be approved by the Millsboro Town Council.

The matter will be on the agenda for their March 2 meeting.

The land is currently undeveloped and is known as Patriot’s Bluff Commercial.

“A site plan could come sometime this spring,” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson, who issued a news release stating that Peninsula Regional, which opened a family medicine practice in the Millsboro Health Pavilion in 2014, is “seeking to expand in Eastern Sussex County to better support a rapidly growing population.”

“While Millsboro and the surrounding population have been a focus of the system for several years, PRHS seeks to establish an ambulatory campus that will provide an enhanced variety of healthcare services for the community.

“While those have not been finalized, the new health complex will create jobs and offer services similar to what are available at our other ambulatory campuses. Acute care needs will continue to be supported by the health system’s hospitals in Seaford (Nanticoke Memorial) and Salisbury (Peninsula Regional),” he wrote.

Chris Hall, vice president of strategy and chief business officer for PRHS, told the Coastal Point that the organization is “looking for options to replicate a similar complex like we have in Ocean Pines, Md.”

“The community of Ocean Pines has embraced healthcare closer to home so they don’t have to travel miles to receive primary care, as well as specialty care. We’ve been looking at space in the Millsboro area, considering the growth we have seen there. It is under-served,” Hall said.

Planned are doctors’ offices, as well as diagnostic services.

“We’re going to continue to evaluate the needs of the community. It would be a couple to three years before it opens. We have to go through the permit process and get the land annexed for sewer and water,” he said.

He said it’s too soon to know what the complex will be named or how many jobs will be available.

Dr. Karin DiBari, vice president of the Peninsula Regional Medical Group, said the new complex will provide medical care closer to home for Millsboro residents.

“The over-65 population uses three times more healthcare than any other age cohort. Having a family medical complex with the services we will provide will complement the work that is already happening. You can never have enough family medicine and offices,” Hall said.

Already in Millsboro are primary-care doctors’ offices with lab and pediatrics.

Roger Follebout, who handles public relations for Peninsula Regional, called the new medical complex “an outstanding opportunity.”

“We’ve had primary care in and around Dagsboro for over 25 years, and it’s pretty robust in Dagsboro. We moved into Millsboro in 2014. We have been in that general vicinity and general area for quite some time now. The people in Dagsboro and Millsboro have been very supportive of our services, to ensure the care is going to be provided for generations to come,” he said.

DiMari said the opportunity to expand services “works really well with our partnership with the Nanticoke Physicians’ Network. We have more services available with that hospital so that allows us to provide more services to the community and have a comprehensive approach, which is what our commitment is,” she said.

There will not be a free-standing emergency room in Millsboro because permission would be needed from the State and that’s a more involved process than opening an ambulatory complex, Hall said.

Hudson said Millsboro town officials are “excited on a couple fronts.”

“Obviously, the fact that medical offices are possibly coming, and an ambulatory campus, could mean anything from medical offices to labs to imaging to possibly event urgent care, everything non-acute. Certainly the Town is thrilled. There is a huge and growing demand for medical and health care services in town.

“We would love to see 24/7 urgent care, or even a 12-hour urgent-care, as part of the plan. Secondarily is just the proposal of high-quality, high-paying jobs in town,” he said.

“If the land gets annexed and PRHS finalizes its plans to build on the site, I would assume there will be above-average-paying jobs. Those people in town shop in the town and dine in the town, all of which is good for Millsboro,” he said.

PRHS, with more than 5,000 employees, assets of more than $1 billion, and 264 physicians and providers, offers care in Sussex County, as well as in Worcester, Wicomico, Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset and Accomack counties in Maryland.

On March 1, McCready Hospital in Crisfield, Md., in Somerset County, will become part of the health system, and that building will be converted into a free-standing medical facility with no in-patient beds, Hall said.


By Susan Canfora
Staff Reporter