Beebe announces $180 million expansion

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Preliminary sketch of Lewes campus expansion.

The Beebe Healthcare board approved management’s proposal for an expansion of the system over the next several years.

This expansion will include both new facilities and new services on three campuses in coastal Sussex County.

Construction on the first phase of the expansion is expected 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, 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.

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The plan calls for a previously disclosed expansion on the hospital campus in Lewes that will create all private rooms for complex medical and surgical inpatients. Beebe is hemmed in at the Lewes location and has opened a campus near Rehoboth Beach.

Beebe has a large share of the health care market in coastal Sussex, but will see more competition as a new quarter of a billion dollar health campus is constructed in Milford by Bayhealth.

Like the Milford area, coastal Sussex is seeing strong population growth among all age groups, with many of the newcomers at or near retirement age.

The Lewes expansion will include a new labor and delivery wing.

The Lewes campus will remain the site of heart and vascular care, and the plans include creation of a dedicated Heart, Stroke and Vascular Center of Excellence. “By focusing the Lewes hospital campus on complex inpatients, we can improve the care they receive as well as become more efficient,” stated Rick Schaffner, executive vicepresident.

In Rehoboth, Beebe proposes to develop a Specialty Surgical Center for inpatient and outpatient procedures. Surgical procedures will be focused on less complex cases for patients requiring a shorter inpatient stay.

Beebe will establish a Minimally Invasive Surgical Center of Excellence at the site. “We know that we can create a better experience for these patients by developing a site just for them and not mixing them with trauma, emergency, and intensive care,” commented Fried.

Residents will see development of a Beebe Health Campus in Millville on Route 17 that will include a new year-round freestanding emergency department.

In addition, a satellite facility of Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center will be developed that will include radiation and chemotherapy treatment. The development of these two services will augment the diagnostic imaging, physical rehabilitation services, laboratory, and walk-in care that is currently offered in Millville on Route 26.“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 William Swain Lee, board 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.”

“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 William Swain Lee, board 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.”

Beebe is expected to invest approximately $180 million in this expansion, with a portion of that expected to come from charitable contributions being sought in a major capital campaign led by the Beebe Medical Foundation. “

Beebe will unveil more details of its plans over the next several months as building designs are completed. Community meetings, events, and publications are planned to keep the community informed of the expansion of healthcare services.

Beebe which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, has sprung back from a $122 million settlement related to its ties with former pediatrician Earl Bradley. Bradley was sentenced to life in prison. Much of the settlement was covered by insurance.

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