Nemours to open health care facility in Milford on Monday

Dr. Aaron Carpenter talks about one of the new team stations at the new Nemours facility in Milford. The building’s pediatric unit opens Monday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

MILFORD — The new Nemours facility at Bayhealth, Sussex Campus, is set to open to its first patients Monday.

So, on Thursday, representatives of Nemours gave tours of the building’s pediatric unit to members of the media in lieu of a big public celebration, something made impossible by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 35,000-square-foot facility, which is focused on children and the senior population, will provide primary care and a wide array of specialty services, including cardiology, audiology, orthopedics and much more.

Dr. Suzanne Bagas will be working from the building as part of Nemours’ pediatric primary care department.

“We have quite a number of patients in the southern part of the state who have complex medical needs and see specialists and make multiple trips up to A.I. duPont (Hospital for Children in Wilmington) to see them,” she said. “Now, they won’t have to travel as far.”

Kelly Thomas, an administrative office manager with Nemours, said that “because of transportation concerns and our families and their demographics, it was very difficult for families to go to Wilmington.”

In addition to ample parking, the new facility also has a DART bus stop right outside.

Dr. Bagas said the building is “beautiful.”

“I love how child-friendly it appears and how open it is,” she said.

The check-in area at Nemours in Milford. The 35,000-square-foot facility is focused on children and the senior population. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Ms. Thomas said the facility was designed with a beach aesthetic in mind.
“We’re going to have a big whale in our waiting room that the kids are going to love,” she said. “That’s going to be my favorite thing.”

Dr. Aaron Carpenter, Nemours’ director of advanced practice nursing, likes “the connectedness between the different suites.”

“With primary and specialty care, you can walk right through, so if a pediatrician or a nurse practitioner has a question, there’s very close proximity to go talk to the specialists,” he said.

“The kind of warm handoff between the primary care provider and specialty care is right there, and it makes that transition to specialty care, therapy services and radiology much easier,” Dr. Carpenter said.

Dr. Bagas agreed.

“We are very excited in primary care to be able to work with specialists on our sites and be able to offer specialty care to our patients who live in the southern half of the state,” she said.

One of the specialists she will be working closely with is gastroenterologist Dr. Stephen Shaffer.

Dr. Carpenter said Dr. Shaffer “is beginning to see patients in the third week of November. He’ll be down here first, then the rest of specialty will open up in April.”

Although he used to commute from southeastern Pennsylvania to Nemours’ location in Wilmington, Dr. Shaffer has made the move Downstate.

“I made the decision to move down to southern Delaware when plans were being finalized for our division, gastroenterology, to be staffing the facility as it was being completed,” he said.

“It was kind of a no-brainer to me to decide to move down this way,” he said. “We’ll eventually be seeing patients in this facility four days a week.”

He said he and his colleagues “see enough patients from this part of Delaware and also surrounding communities in Maryland, that we would be able to sustain a significant pediatric gastroenterology practice based out of this facility.”

Dr. Carpenter said that the new specialty offerings are filling an unmet demand. In particular, he noted that the expansion would be filling a need for additional behavioral health care services Downstate.

“There’s always a need for more behavioral health services and pediatrics, so I think that’s going to fit a big access need,” he said.

Although the new senior care center is also in the same building, it’s walled off from the pediatric unit.

“It is a separate entrance,” Ms. Thomas said. “We designed it that way specifically for the safety of our adult population.”

Ms. Thomas said the senior facility was built with more of a classy, yacht-like vibe than the pediatric facility, which features lots of bright colors and a distinct beach theme.

Until now, Nemours has had several different facilities across Milford.

“We currently have four locations in Milford,” Ms. Thomas said. “Senior care had three different suites, and we had a suite for primary care. Now, everything is under the same house, which is amazing.”

She said that all Nemours’ patients served by those locations have been notified about the new facility.

“All of our families have been sent postcards to let them know that we’ve moved,” Ms. Thomas said, and there will be “some signage at the old location to let them know that we’re over here.”