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Bayhealth breaks ground on latest Sussex expansion

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Bayhealth officials broke ground in Milton for its $35 million facility on Wednesday. | PHOTO COURTESY OF BAYHEALTH

MILTON — It’s been two years in the making, but Bayhealth has moved forward with its Route 9 location, breaking ground Wednesday on its southernmost facility to date.

Bayhealth Total Care will be a 48,500-square-foot facility that delivers a hybrid combination of walk-in emergency services, primary and specialty offices, imaging and lab services. The $35 million facility will be built at the intersection of Lewes-Georgetown Highway and Hudson Road and will bring at least 60 employees when it opens in early 2023.

“[This] represents the best of Bayhealth’s vision for the future: bringing the best health care to Sussex County,”  Bayhealth President and CEO Terry Murphy said during Wednesday’s ceremony. “We do it because we know it’s the right thing to do for the people that live in this community … We want to make it easy and convenient for Sussex County residents to get their health care.”

Bayhealth Total Care will also add five primary care clinicians with the ability to cover thousands of patient visits every year, officials said. Patients will also be able to access specialty care doctors like neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, cardiologists, oncologists and more at the new facility.

Bayhealth Total Care will be a 48,500-square-foot facility that delivers a hybrid combination of walk-in emergency services, primary and specialty offices, imaging and lab services. | PHOTO COURTESY OF BAYHEALTH

At a time when Sussex County — particularly around Route 9 — is growing, especially among retirees and senior citizens, the investment is well-timed and well-needed. The land around Route 9 has one of the fastest growing populations in Delaware, increasing 21% from 35,295 residents in 2010 to 42,729 in 2019, according to a study done by the marketing firm Claritas Company. 

The 65 and older population is particularly booming, growing nearly 60% in the same span to 10,135 residents. In the next four years, the overall population is projected to grow 8.2%, including an 18% growth in senior residents.

“If you travel up and down Route 9, you can’t help but know the growth occurring in Sussex County,” Murphy said. “There is so much need here, with the numbers of people vacationing or moving here, it just adds more to the population of need.”

For the last three years, Bayhealth has been growing its services from beyond its footprint in Dover, starting first with building a new Sussex Campus along Route 1 in Milford. That facility has brought in new partnerships with Nemours and a pending one with PAM Rehabilitation Services. 

With an eye to the physician shortfall in Delaware, Bayhealth launched a residency program this year and hopes to have 109 residents within the next two years that may consider staying in the First State.

Bayhealth first proposed the Milton facility as an emergency department in 2019, at the same time Beebe Healthcare made a similar proposal for Georgetown. But when the Health Resources Board denied Beebe’s application based on concerns of costs for patients, Bayhealth withdrew its application to revisit the matter.

Bayhealth Total Care was also approved for $978,722.41 in state grant funds this week by the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund (TIIF) Council for road improvements relevant to construction. 

Bayhealth’s TIIF application states that the facility will bring an estimated 60.8 jobs to the Milton area. Breaking those jobs down, 20 of them would range between $25,000 to $40,525 in salary and 21 jobs would range between $40,526 to $86,375.

Another 12 positions would offer salaries between $86,376 to $164,925 and at least another seven would pay between $164,926 to $523,600, according to the application.

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