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Bayhealth, Nemours partner on Sussex Co. pediatric center

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MILFORD – Bayhealth and Nemours Children’s Health System are embarking on an innovative partnership to address children’s health care in the heart of southern Delaware with a new facility coming this fall.

“It’s something that you don’t traditionally see today with two health care entities, so we’re blazing some trails,” Nemours Chief Development Officer Cathy Kanefsky told Delaware Business Times. “We are so thrilled to be able to deliver our quality service a little closer to home for our patients.”

The exterior of the future Bayhealth / Nemours facility. | DBT PHOTO COURTESY OF BAYHEALTH

With construction underway for a new facility out of the Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus, off Del. 1, Nemours will offer pediatric care services and specialty care for some of the most vulnerable patients within a short drive. Pediatric urgent care is expected to be added by 2021.

With this new venture comes additional health care jobs, as Nemours plans on moving 35 positions from the Delaware Valley region. Another 20 jobs would be created, but Kanefsky predicts that’s just the start. Bayhealth plans on hiring additional staff as well.

This three-story facility would include patient services offered from both Nemours and Bayhealth. Nemours would move its primary physicians onto the first floor along with specialty care like allergy, behavioral health, cardiology and more. Bayhealth would offer complimentary services, like maternal/fetal medicine, women’s care and endocrinology. Preliminary plans unveiled before the Sussex County Council on Tuesday show other amenities like a therapy gym and a waiting area with a sliding board that looks like a whale.

The hope is that patients could be seen as early as November 2020, according to Nemours officials.

“Instead of waiting for the primary care doctor to see your child, and later being transferred to Nemours for something a little more serious, this would cut down on that potential wait and an hour and a half drive to Wilmington,” Kanefsky told DBT.

Data backs up the need to move pediatric care a little closer to home for southern Delaware families, as Nemours served 13,488 patients from Kent County and roughly 16,000 patients from Sussex County in 2018. Patient volume from both counties jumped up roughly 8% from 2017.

Nemours will also open the door for ophthalmology, dental and hearing screenings for low-income seniors out of this new facility. While Nemours is nationally renowned for the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, it also offers those services throughout the state.

The Bayhealth and Nemours partnership comes on the one-year anniversary of the opening of Bayhealth Sussex Campus, a 165-acre facility that includes a six-story hospital, an emergency department and an outpatient center for expanded diagnostic testing and a helipad on the roof. The hospital has 128 beds, but will be adding another 24 beds in the near future.

With the Bayhealth Hospital Sussex Campus close by, Bayhealth Foundation President Lindsay Rhodenbaugh touted the added benefits of diagnostic imaging services and a trauma center for the residents.

“This partnership will really be outstanding for both Nemours and Bayhealth, and more importantly, for the families in this state,” Rhodenbaugh told the Sussex County Council. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for families in this region to be treated and seen closer to home by two outstanding health organizations partnering together for the first time.”

By Katie Tabeling

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