Sussex prepped for more jobs, health services

The Nemours facility will open in November at Bayhealth’s Sussex Campus in Milford. Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller

MILFORD — The new facility where Nemours will provide pediatric and geriatric services for downstate residents and at least 20 new jobs to the area is on track to open Nov. 9.

“We’re really, really excited to be coming to Sussex and opening up,” said Colleen Davis, the special projects director for Nemours, speaking to the Milford City Council during its Aug. 10 meeting.

Located on the Bayhealth Sussex Campus off Del. 1, the facility, she said, will include a broad array of pediatric services in addition to a smaller department focused on the geriatric population.

“In this particular building we’re going to co-locate specialty care, therapy services and imaging services along with the primary care and senior care that already exists in Milford,” she said. “Our primary care location and senior care location are both over on Route 13 (at present), so this will bring them over and co-locate them with all the other supportive services.”

Ms. Davis said when the facility opens, 35 jobs will move from the Nemours campus in Wilmington to Milford and over 20 new jobs will be created. That latter number keeps rising, she said, as Nemours hires more physicians and other staff for the facility.

“We have found through surveys that 11% of our associates actually live in Kent and Sussex and travel now up to New Castle County,” Ms. Davis said. “We have had a lot of very excited associates who have applied for jobs there and said how happy they are that they won’t have to travel up north anymore.”

She said the new facility will also have a bus stop.

“I know for our primary care that’s out on 13, the bus stop is a bit of a walk and we’ve had a huge percentage of no-shows,” she said. “We’re really excited to be having the DART bus that will be coming right onto the campus.”

Ms. Davis said there are already 10,000 Nemours patients in Kent and Sussex counties.

“The pediatric population down there is about 46,000, so we’re really excited to bring these services to try to help this community,” she said. “In Milford, we are committed to expanding our service offerings in southern Delaware to better meet the needs of the children down there and more importantly to help improve health outcomes.”

The new three-floor building will include a café, modern beach-themed common spaces and additional office space for Bayhealth on the second and third levels.

When the new Nemours facility opens, 35 jobs will move from the Nemours campus in Wilmington to Milford.

Ms. Davis put a big emphasis on telehealth, particularly as it relates to care in the COVID-19 era.

“Since COVID has started, our telehealth visits have skyrocketed,” she said. “We will have seven telehealth units that will be mobile, so no matter what room a patient is in, or maybe the doctor is in the room and the patient will be at home, we’ll be able to move the equipment around, because it will be wireless.”

The senior care element of the facility is specifically for low-income individuals and will provide vision, dental and audiology services. According to the Nemours Senior Care website, those eligible must be 65 or older, be a Delaware resident and have an annual income of less than $21,900 for a single person and less than $33,800 for a married couple, including Social Security.

Milford Councilman Andrew Fulton, who represents the second ward asked when ear, nose and throat specialists would be available.
“It’s not going to be every day, but they will be coming down so they can see patients physically,” she said. “The telehealth device, the mobile device, has pieces to it where the medical assistant can hold up different parts and the physician … will be able to look and do their exam that way.”

Ms. Davis said the facility is opening up on schedule, but due to COVID-19 not all of the services Nemours had initially intended to provide there will be available right out of the gate.

“As planned, with our Sussex Campus opening in November, we will be moving over and opening up the pediatric primary care as well as gastroenterology and our senior care services,” she said. “The remainder of our pediatric specialty services, including the medical imaging and therapy services, we’ve opted to push off until April 1.”

She said plans for a pediatric urgent care unit to be available by early 2021 have also been pushed back indefinitely.

The grand opening ceremony also has been delayed until spring.

“Hopefully the introduction of a vaccine will be here, the weather will be nicer and Bayhealth’s second and third floor will be more complete,” Ms. Davis said.