SCHC ribbon-cutting (copy)

Dr. David Tam, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, joins staff in 2020 at the ribbon-cutting for the then-new South Coastal Health Campus in Millville, which features a freestanding emergency department and a cancer care center. Beebe is now proposing to add a pediatric emergency department and hybrid emergency/acute-care facility in Millsboro, at the intersection of Routes 20 and 113.

A public hearing set for Wednesday, Nov. 30, was the next step toward a hybrid healthcare facility in Millsboro, plans for which include a dedicated pediatric emergency department — a first for Sussex County.

Beebe Healthcare presented its preliminary plans for the facility — to be located at the intersection of Routes 113 and 20 — at a recent meeting of the state Health Resources Board, according to Beebe President and CEO Dr. David Tam.

“The Health Resources Board asks that every proposal fulfill seven criteria,” Tam said, including whether the project is financially feasible, whether it reduces the cost of healthcare for area residents and whether the facility is “medically appropriate” for the area.

At the hearing, Tam said, “We got basically positive support, that we met all seven criteria.” The board could not vote on the proposal at that point, because the public hearing had not been held, he said.

“We are very optimistic,” he added. “We are expecting a positive approval.”

Beebe is already working with the state Department of Transportation, since the location is near DelDOT’s planned Millsboro bypass, he said. “That’s one of the reasons we chose it,” he said, “because what a great place for any ambulance coming from any location.”

The facility would occupy a 50-acre parcel that Tam said Beebe is in the process of purchasing. The facility will include a freestanding emergency department similar to the one at the South Coastal Campus on Route 17, completed nearly three years ago, as well as a “hybrid” walk-in clinic that will serve patients who might not be sure whether they need an emergency department or an urgent-care facility. That service will potentially save patients the extra expense of an emergency room visit if it is not necessary, he said.

“The population of children is growing in Sussex County,” Tam said, “especially in that part of the county.” Currently, the closest pediatric emergency room is at Nemours Children’s Hospital (formerly A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children) in Wilmington.

“We’re very excited about it,” Tam said.

For information on how to attend the Nov. 30 hearing virtually, go to https://publicmeetings.delaware.gov/#/meeting/73520 on the state Department of Health website.

For more information on the hearing, contact Latoya Wright at (302) 255-4750.

Staff Reporter

Kerin majored in journalism at Ohio University and has worked as an editor and reporter for monthly, daily and weekly publications in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware since 1983. A native of Baltimore, Md., she has lived in Ocean View since 1996.