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Delaware Online

State approval opens door for Milford skilled nursing center

Jerry Smith

With the Delaware Health Resources Board confirming what Nationwide Healthcare Services has known all along, a new skilled nursing and rehabilitation center on the site of the Bayhealth Milford Memorial complex is a step closer to reality.

The state recently cleared the way for Nationwide to build a 150-bed skilled nursing center on the site of the soon-to-be-vacated Bayhealth Milford Memorial complex and 10 adjacent acres.

At the time Nationwide filed the Certificate of Public Review application, the state, via the Health Resources Board, had determined there was a need for 224 additional skilled care beds in Sussex County.

After it filed the application, more current projections were adopted, which identified a 229-bed shortage for Sussex County.

There was also evidence submitted by Bayhealth Hospital that beds were needed for placement from both their facilities in Dover and Milford and there was feedback from the local community that a new facility was needed.

The Delaware Health Resources Board also noted that admissions to private nursing homes in Sussex County increased 59.2 percent from 2006-2016 and that the population has grown rapidly in recent years and will continue to grow.

“The consensus [by the Delaware Health Resources Board] and the feedback we’ve received from the state and the community in outreach efforts confirm the need for a high-quality skilled nursing center in Milford,” said Nationwide CEO Meir Gelley. “That is exactly what we will bring to the region.”

Nationwide is acquiring the 22-acre parcel and surrounding buildings from Bayhealth, which is moving in phases to a new campus within the next year. Closing on the property sale from Bayhealth to Nationwide is scheduled for January 2019, with construction beginning immediately after.