Update: Bayhealth Sussex Campus to add 29 new beds

MILFORD — On Wednesday, Bayhealth announced its plan to add 29 new beds and a cesarean section suite to its Sussex Campus in Milford.

“After our move to the Sussex Campus in early 2019, we saw significant growth in admissions, observation cases and the number of babies born,” said Terry Murphy, Bayhealth’s CEO and president. “Sussex County is undergoing significant population growth, which we anticipate will further increase the need for services and we want to be prepared to meet that need.”

The certificate of public review Bayhealth sent to be considered by the Delaware Health Resources Board called for 24 additional beds to be located in a 17,300-square-foot space on the building’s fifth floor.

Bayhealth, Sussex Campus

“The 24 beds that we’re going to be building are medical surgical beds,” Mr. Murphy said. “These are mainly for those who require an acute care or hospital stay for medical or surgical reasons.”

He said demand for private hospital rooms in the area has expanded.

“We need to keep growing with the community’s needs,” Mr. Murphy said.

In an emergency situation, he said these 24 additional beds could be used for COVID-19 patients.

Office space on the hospital’s third floor will be repurposed for five additional women’s services beds.

Mr. Murphy said these will be dedicated “labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum rooms. They basically do everything in one large private room.”

A new surgical suite for C-sections will also be constructed nearby.

Mr. Murphy said that the hospital has already seen an additional demand for pregnancy care. Furthermore, he expects the need for maternity care to increase in southern Delaware over the upcoming years.

“The number of people that are choosing Bayhealth and the Sussex Campus to deliver their babies is also going up,” Mr. Murphy said. “We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of admissions and short-stay visits at our Sussex Campus, but we’ve also seen an increase in the number of deliveries.”

All the additions are estimated to cost around $19 million. Mr. Murphy expects the project to bring 60 new jobs to the campus.

“Most of the jobs will be for nurses and others who are taking care of the expanding population as we see more and more patients choosing Bayhealth,” he said.

Mr. Murphy explained that the Sussex Campus’ main building was designed with future expansion in mind.

“The proposed expansion project was thoughtfully and efficiently planned when we designed the hospital,” he said. “Most of the necessary infrastructure is already in place, making it easy to convert the spaces into patient care areas. There will be minimal impact on existing services.”

Mr. Murphy said that if everything goes as planned, the new additions to the hospital should be ready in about one year.

But Bayhealth’s plans to expand go beyond this proposal.

On Dec. 7, Bayhealth will open the Nemours building on the Sussex Campus, which will include Nemours duPont Pediatrics on the first floor and additional office space on the upper two levels.

The company is also constructing an out-patient care center on Del. 9 near Milton and is looking into adding more beds and parking spaces to its Kent Campus in Dover.

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