Beebe heads south with new primary care office
SELBYVILLE — Beebe Healthcare will be adding its 14th primary care office in Sussex County in Selbyville next year, making it and its southernmost primary care office to date.
Beebe Primary Care Selbyville will be at Bayside Corner shopping complex, at the intersection of Route 54 and 20, not far from the Freeman Arts Pavillion and 5 miles from Fenwick Island.
The exterior structure of the building is in the process of being built, and Beebe Healthcare officials have set an opening tentatively for mid-2023. Beebe has more than 20 specialty offices in 40 locations in Sussex County. In addition, the health care system has several primary care offices, including three in Lewes, two in Millsboro, one in Rehoboth Beach, one in Millville, one in Georgetown and one in Milford.
“Beebe Medical Group is excited to expand primary care access in our South Coastal area,” Beebe Medical Group Director of Primary Care Christina Onolaja said in a statement. “Our Medical Group continues to grow, and we are committed to increasing access to high quality care that’s close to home for the people of Sussex County.”
The new primary care office is expected to have 10 exam rooms for five primary care providers. Onolaja said in total Beebe projects there will be 20 employees working out of that office. Beebe’s goal is to increase same-day sick visit access for Beebe patients and extended hours.
Beebe has been focused on growing in Sussex county, specifically in building access. Onolaja noted that adding primary care is foundational to that plan and to treating Sussex patients.
“Beebe conducted a community needs assessment, and the results showed growth in the area and a strong need for primary care,” she told the Delaware Business Times. “[Beebe plans] on transferring doctors and recruitment, but those details are still being finalized.”
While the town of Selbyville is on the western side of Sussex County, with U.S. Route 113 running through it, the 11 miles east of it to Delaware’s Coast is ripe for prime development. Delaware’s low cost of living compared to surrounding states and access to the beach make it prime for retirees to move here in their golden days, which in turn is fueling some of the building boom.
The Beebe Healthcare 2022 Community Health Needs Assessments shows that the area with the zip code of 19975 has a population of 10,281. Postal codes list that zipcode as Selbyville, but in reality it covers the 10 miles Selbyville and stops short of Fenwick Island.
The Bayside Corner shopping complex is across the highway from the Bayside community developed by Carl M. Freeman Companies.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Beebe Healthcare to Bayside Corner,” Carl M. Freeman Companies Commercial and Hospitality Vice President Nick Freeman said. “Beebe’s commitment to serving the community aligns with our mission of creating retail spaces that best serve the area’s needs. Proximity to health care benefits not only our residents at Bayside, but the neighboring communities.”
A 2019 survey commissioned by the state Department of Health and Social Services and conducted by the University of Delaware showed a 6% decline in primary care doctors.
That report shows that Sussex County had the second-highest number of primary care providers in the state with 112 in 2018. That showed 2,014 people served by one full-time equivalent (FTE) caregiver in Sussex County, above the statewide ratio of 1,475 patients per FTE caregiver.
“Beebe Healthcare has developed our strategic plan that looks at how we provide comprehensive care throughout Sussex County,” Beebe Healthcare President and CEO Dr. David Tam said in a statement. “That includes Selbyville and the South Coastal area, so we are so thrilled to bring this location to the community thanks to some great partnerships.”