Exclusive: Peninsula Regional to build southern Del. campus
MILLSBORO — Peninsula Regional Health System is looking to strengthen its hold in southern Delaware with an ambulatory medical campus north of Millsboro, between its primary care offices off U.S. 113 and its recently-acquired hospital in Seaford.
The new campus would balance out development in town as much of the commercial growth has been kept to the south side of town, closer to the border of the Delaware beaches and Ocean City, Maryland.
“What’s truly exciting about this prospect is the robust medical growth we could have in primary care, emergency care and tertiary care all within a short distance of each other,” said Chief Physician Executive Dr. Karin DiBari of Peninsula Regional Medical Group. “We can create a community where care is seamless and patients can access providers who know them and their history, making treatment easier.”
Peninsula Regional, based in Salisbury, Maryland, is in the early stages of planning a health care campus that would be built out in phases over time. The proposed site is an ideal location because it’s 1 mile north of its family medicine practice at the Delmarva Pavilion and 18 miles from Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford that was acquired with last month’s merger.
“This is so early in the process, and we’re really looking at a couple of years out and undergoing a year of planning. It’s still too early to tell what the specific needs are,” Peninsula Regional Vice President of Strategy and Business Development Chris Hall said.
Peninsula Regional leaders hope that it will feel like the successful campus in Ocean Pines, Maryland. That facility boasts primary care physicians, adult fitness services, a community pharmacy, laboratory space and cancer care treatment, all built out within three years.
That campus has yet to be finished, with plans to include a surgery center, endoscopy, urgent care, imaging, and specialty physician offices in third and fourth buildings.
Services aside, Hall said the goal is to replicate the same atmosphere in the Ocean Pines campus in southern Delaware.
“In Ocean Pines, it feels we’ve really been brought into the community. We want to help communities manage their health care needs so patients don’t have to reach the hospital and keep it within close distance and make it affordable,” he said.
Key factors in studying what Millsboro patients could see in the Peninsula Regional facility is Sussex County’s increasing number of patients 65 or older, and the popular services at the Delmarva Pavilion.
“I will say that primary care is always needed. It seems like our Millsboro office is very popular and busting at the seams,” DiBari said.
First steps in the planning phases is to annex the future campus into the town of Millsboro, so the land can be served by municipal sewer and water.
The land, 40 acres identified as Patriot’s Bluff Commercial, is owned by Kenneth P. Adams of the Melvin L. Joseph Construction Co., based in Georgetown, according to state records.
Peninsula Regional would buy the land from Adams, with plans calling for the use of 30 acres, half of which would be developed into the health complex, officials said.
From a residential perspective, Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson said the Peninsula Regional campus is an exciting prospect, since it would draw more jobs and more added value to the town.
“Not only is it expanding services, it’s bringing high-quality, high-paying jobs which results in those dollars being spent on Millsboro homes and in Millsboro businesses,” he said.
Benefits for the town to annex the proposed health care campus include drawing high-quality jobs to town and raising property values, according to a report issued by the Millsboro Special Committee on Annexation.
[Balancing development] is especially important given that the north side of the [town] is the primary gateway for tourists passing through the [city],” the committee report reads.
With the announcement of the Millsboro campus, Peninsula Regional continues to set a steady pace for its expansion in Delaware. The health care system closed out the decade by finalizing its acquisition of Nanticoke Health Services, with locations in Seaford, Georgetown, Delmar, Laurel, and Bridgeville.
Looking into the future, Peninsula now has its eyes set on merging with McCready Health of Crisfield, Maryland, later this year.
Millsboro Town Council is set to hear the annexation proposal on March 2.
By Katie Tabeling