New Bayhealth Sussex Campus set to accept patients in early February, community open house scheduled

As patients continue receiving health care at Bayhealth’s Milford Memorial Hospital this year, innovative technology and fresh construction on a new hospital nears completion in south Milford.

First built in 1953, the current 22-acre hospital on Clarke Avenue simply would not hold future growth, Bayhealth leaders contend. So, a change was in order.

The new 169-acre Bayhealth Sussex Campus has now been in the works for years through planning, fundraising and construction of the facility. CEO and President Terry Murphy said he’s excited to announce the project remains on time and in budget at a whopping $314 million price tag.

“The largest reinvestment and construction project in Sussex County’s history is about to become live, as we call it,” he said. “Our board of directors had a goal to try to achieve 50 percent of the base materials and workhours from Delawareans.”

Their goal was successful as the project currently sits at “53 percent on both,” Mr. Murphy explained.

Companies like Crystal Steel Fabricators, Inc. based out of Delmar, Atlantic Concrete in Milford and Battaglia Electric, Inc. from New Castle have worked hard on the new location. Whiting-Turner Construction Company also supplied many workers from around Delaware and nearby areas to complete the task at hand.

“We’ve had over 1,800 jobs and people that have worked on the project. And for those people, there’s a lot of pride. This isn’t just a building where we manufacture widgets. There’s an extreme amount of pride,” Mr. Murphy said.

The new hospital and outpatient center estimated at 440,000 square foot in size is set to take in its first patients in early February.

It will boast six floors, easy-to-navigate hallways, 128 private rooms with bathrooms and sleeper sofas, additional physician offices and some of the latest technology available in the medical field. A nature trail will offer a serene environment for all those who use the hospital. Windows in the rooms will allow sunshine in to help the healing process.

Medical providers will find a special “garden level” made with them in mind, complete with a food prep area, facility services, lockers, employee lounge and on-call suites for when medical staff have long nights of serving the community.

The first floor will include “state-of-the-art emergency and diagnostic services,” according to Bayhealth’s website. It will feature a 30-bay emergency room with a behavioral health suite and cafeteria with outdoor dining and community meeting spaces available.

The second floor of the hospital will include six operating rooms, two procedure rooms and a room just for radiologic and cardiac procedures. Inpatient dialysis services and intensive care and post-anesthesia care units will also be found on this floor.

The third floor is dedicated to obstetrical services and a maternity ward, including a special emergency department to fit the needs of young families.

A state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym and 40 inpatient rehab beds will be found on the fourth floor of the hospital. A 24-bed acute care patient unit will be housed on the fifth floor with room for future expansion as necessary. More acute care will take place on the sixth floor with an additional 48 beds in private rooms.

The helipad will top off the new hospital on the roof of the building. Bayhealth built in an elevator to take patients and providers on a direct path to the trauma bays in the emergency department and operating suites on the second floor.

The connected outpatient center will feature an “integrated oncology center,” including separate infusion bays for patients and family members. More specialties like diagnostic testing and therapy will also be found in this building, offering a sense of continuity in their healthcare services.

“And the site itself with the overpass there makes it easy to get to from anywhere in Sussex County,” Mr. Murphy said.

As construction on the facility nears completion, the next two months will be filled with more planning and testing to ensure a smooth transition to the new location.

“It’s not every day you get to design and build from the ground up something that patients can say, ‘Wow, you had us in mind when you built it, as well as the caregivers,” he added. “I think it will be noticeable to the nurses and physicians that work there, and we recruit there, too.”

Nemours duPont Pediatrics and Nemours Senior Care will bring a change for the community, as well, as plans progress for another building to be constructed on the property through a partnership between Bayhealth and Anchor Health Properties.

That building will be to the left of Wellness Way as visitors enter the Bayhealth Sussex Campus in Milford and will house pediatric and senior care specialties from Nemours on the first floor. The second floor will include community services and physicians as leased by Bayhealth with Bayhealth occupying the third floor.

“We expect to be in there seeing patients in [mid] 2020,” said Ann Hurst, administrator, Ambulatory Operations, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. “Nemours, right now as the only children’s hospital in the state of Delaware, serves a lot of patients in central to southern Delaware. Those patients, however, have to travel for their services. What we hear the most from these patients is, ‘How can I get Nemours quality health care directly from Nemours providers but closer to where I live?’ This is the time to do it now that we have this connection with Bayhealth and now that they have their great new campus.”

Some primary care and senior care services in Milford are already offered in Milford through Nemours. Those offices will be relocated to the new building. Additional specialty services will include allergy testing, audiology, behavioral health, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general surgery, neurology, orthopedics, ENT, pulmonology, urology and weight management. They will also offer therapy and diagnostic services, along with dental and vision services and hearing screenings for eligible Delaware seniors.

“If a parent doesn’t have to drive an hour and a half for that special x-ray they need, that’s our goal, Ms. Hurst said.

The changes coming to Milford and the surrounding area through the move by Bayhealth won’t be the last, Mr. Murphy assured.

Bayhealth recently opened a new 5,000-square-foot medical office building at 800 N. DuPont Blvd. in Milford on the site of Bayhealth’s Edward F. Quinn III Medical Offices to house more primary care services. The Quinn offices were dedicated in 2011 and named after an orthopedic surgeon who held his own practice at the site more than 30 years ago, the late Edward F. Quinn III, MD, according to Bayhealth.

An 18-acre property on Rt. 9 in Sussex County was purchased by Bayhealth for future growth, as well.

Nationwide Healthcare Services plans to take on the Milford Memorial Hospital with a $10 million investment once Bayhealth moves out next year, turning it into a 150-bed skilled nursing facility. They hope to also help other local entities occupy additional space not needed by the nursing facility.

Altogether, the property will be named the Milford Wellness Village.

“The whole building is nor going to be just a nursing home. It’s going to be a long-term care facility within, but also others. We’ll have post-acute care, occupational health, all types of care. Which is going to be happening slowly as we’re moving into things and development,” CEO Meir Gelley told The Chronicle earlier in the year. “We do have some very exciting entities moving into the building.”

Nationwide Healthcare Services currently has six skilled-care facilities, two in Delaware and four in Pennsylvania. All of which, Mr. Gelley said, have received four or five-star ratings for quality measures under the Medicare program.

“This is a great deal of economic development to support aging Sussex County. And not just for today, but for generations to come,” Mr. Murphy said.

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment