by Terry Rogers
On Tuesday, February 4, Lindsay Rhodenbaugh, President of the Bayhealth Foundation, and Cathy Kanefsky, Chief Development Officer for Nemours in the Delaware Valley, presented an update to Sussex County Council on the Nemours/Bayhealth Partnership in Milford.
“It was exactly one year ago tomorrow that Bayhealth opened our new campus in Sussex County,” Rhodenbaugh said. “It has been a very successful year and that success will be augmented by the completion of the project we are here to talk to you about today.”
Kanefsky explained the mission of Nemours which began with a legacy form Alfred duPont, explaining that their guiding principle helps them lead the care they provide to families and children throughout the Delaware Valley.
“Our true north, our guiding star can be summed up in one statement,” Kanefsky said. “That statement is “help me receive exactly the care I want, how and when I need and want it.” And that truly speaks to why we are building a brand-new specialty care center here in Milford for our families in Kent and Sussex Counties. For those who don’t know, we have two free-standing hospitals, one in Orlando, Florida, that opened in 2012 and one in Wilmington that you may refer to as AI, as duPont or as Nemours. That hospital has been our main anchor and we have been growing tremendously over the past several years.”
Currently, Nemours sees more than 300,000 patients across the country and has around 600,000 employees. duPont firmly believed that it was the duty of every person to do whatever they could to eliminate human suffering. Kanefsky explained that every employee of Nemours, regardless of their role, lived that creed each day. In addition to providing services for children, the Nemours Foundation also provides senior services and has since 1981.
“Bayhealth has a mission to strengthen our community one life at a time,” Rhodenbaugh said. “We have more than 4,000 employees at our two hospitals, including our new campus in Sussex County. When the Sussex Campus was constructed, there was an additional floor that would allow us to add an extra 24 beds. We have been so successful we plan to petition too expand the fifth floor for more beds very soon. The facility that is under construction next door will be owned and operated by Bayhealth. The entire first floor will be for Nemours. However, there are three stories to this building. Bayhealth will be adding services that are complimentary to Nemours on those floors. This means Bayhealth will be hiring new employees for some of these positions as well.”
Kanefsky explained that Nemours serves over 13,000 patients in Kent County and 16,000 in Sussex County. Many of those patients must drive an hour and a half one way to get their child to treatment. Some of the children may be critically ill and there are patients who must make that trip two or three times each week. The new location in Milford will be a huge benefit to those patients and families. The new facility will also offer therapy services.
“Senior care is a hidden gem,” Kanefsky said. “It will also be housed at this location. This was actually in Alfred’s will. First, it was to take care of indigent seniors in our area and secondly to serve children. So this is being carried out but carried out quietly. In Milford, we will have ophthalmology and optical, dental and audiology with hearing screenings only. You cannot make more than $20,600 if single and $31,900 if married. You must also be over 65.”
Kanefsky explained that whenever she talks to people about the new Nemours location in Milford, the first question is “what services are you offering?”
“Urgent care for pediatric patients has been a problem in Kent and Sussex Counties,” Kanefsky said. “IT was not part of the original plan to offer urgent care at this location but each time we talked to people, that came up. We will be adding urgent care in early 2021. I am going to read you a note I received from a mother I actually met, Katie Capitan-Anderson, who told me this was an answer to her prayers. “Our beautiful daughter, Ava, has had many challenges in her first two years of life. She sees a myriad of specialists. Now, think about why a little girl needs so many specialists. We trust Nemours to provide the care that we have come to rely on. Ava’s dad and I are elated that there will now be the same services of the same quality, much closer to home and shorter commute. This will be a game changer in keeping on top of Ava’s care.” It is letters like this that make us thrilled to be providing such services.”
Rhodenbaugh explained that Nemours and Bayhealth set up a fund raising goal of $5 million for the project and that the two organizations have already committed $35 billion to the project. The fund raising partnership is unprecedented but all money raised will be used to support the facilities. Donors may donate to both organizations, which Rhodenbaugh says is the most common, to the capital campaign for Bayhealth or the services side for Nemours.
“It is a tremendous opportunity for families in this region to be treated and seen closer to home by two outstanding health organizations with long, rich histories who are now partnering for the very first time,” Rhodenbaugh said. “We hope that you will consider contributing to this worthwhile cause.”