One of the largest construction projects in Beebe Healthcare’s more than 100-year history is nearly ready for staff to move in. The Beebe Specialty Surgical Hospital, on Warrington Road between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, is scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m., Monday, May 16.
The $125 million, 135,000-square-foot facility is designed to deliver short-stay surgical care, including orthopedic, bariatric and breast procedures. The new hospital contains four operating rooms; 18 pre- and post-operative care rooms; 24 private, short-stay inpatient rooms; new imaging and CAT scan rooms; laboratory and pharmacy services; and a therapy room, kitchen, cafeteria and chapel. Up to 150 employees will work at the new hospital.
Orthopedic procedures include joint replacements and spine surgeries with support from a team of nurses, rehabilitation specialists and discharge-planning counselors.
The staff will institute Enhanced Recovery After Surgery protocols to expedite post-operative recovery.
This summer, the Rehoboth walk-in clinic will move to the facility, gaining 30 percent more room. The fourth floor is unfinished to allow for future expansion, said Dr. David Tam, Beebe Healthcare president and CEO.
In addition, once the walk-in clinic relocates to the new facility, work will begin to renovate portions of the Rehoboth Health Campus for the Beebe Center for Breast Health, in addition to the Tunnell Cancer Center and Bookhammer Outpatient Surgery Center at the Route 24 facility adjacent to the new specialty surgical hospital.
“It will be a state-of-the art breast center,” said Dr. Diana Dickson-Witmer, a surgeon who will head the center. “Patients will be able to get screenings, biopsies and surgery all in the same place with community education and outreach as well. We are going to take it to the next level,” she said.
Registered Nurse Regina Newell, a clinical expert who worked with staff and contractors throughout construction, led a March 14 media tour through the new facility. She said staff and community input was imperative to the design of the clinical areas of the hospital.
Mark Loukides, head of facilities, said the hallmarks of the new hospital are efficiency, state-of-the art technology and communications, attention to detail and patient comfort, right down to the choices of colors used throughout the building. “We want this to have a relaxing look and atmosphere, and not look like a typical hospital,” he said.
Local artwork and photography will be featured on walls throughout the hospital rooms.
“We are building on the reputation already established at Beebe,” said Dr. Wilson Choy, an orthopedic surgeon. “Now we can improve on what we’ve done in the past with more efficiency and safety, and even better quality. We are facing a huge population boom, and we are addressing that.”
He said currently, Beebe surgeons perform 30 to 35 joint replacements a week and will be able to expand that number to 40 to 50 a week.
Tom Protack, Beebe Medical Foundation president, said donations from the community during the I Believe in Beebe Campaign raised $45.4 million. The funds were used at the new facility, for renovations at the existing Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus, and at the new Beebe South Coastal Cancer Center and emergency department that opened near Millville in July 2020.
Tam said the new hospital is helping Beebe meet its goal of providing as much care as possible for Sussex County residents. It will also help to attract new physicians, he said. “”People tell me all the time that we need more doctors. It’s my goal to recruit highly qualified physicians,” he said. “Our specialty is Sussex County and understanding all of their needs to provide community-oriented treatment in a place where people choose to get their care.”