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One plan for a new emergency department in Sussex withdrawn, another voted down

Delaware Public Media

Plans to add a new emergency department in Sussex County are not moving forward.

Bayhealth and Beebe Healthcare each proposed to build a new freestanding emergency department in the heart of Sussex County. 

Beebe’s new facility would have sat across from Delaware Tech’s Georgetown campus. Bayhealth’s location was planned for Route 9 just east of Harbeson. 

Each health system says there’s a need for emergency medicine in the area. They cite long drive times to existing emergency departments and a growing population in Sussex County—especially citizens above the age of 65.

Bayhealth withdrew its plan from consideration hours before a Delaware Health Resources Board meeting to decide on the matter Thursday. And the Board turned down Beebe’s plan with seven voting against and one member abstaining. A board subcommittee recommended denying both plans in June.

Board members say the plans are not in line with Gov. John Carney’s Healthcare Spending Benchmark meant to reduce the cost of care in the state. 

They say adding emergency departments will drive up the cost of health care when patients use the ED for non-emergency medical visits. They also say the move would deal a financial blow to neighboring Nanticoke Hospital which relies almost exclusively on Medicare and Medicaid patients.

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