One year after it was originally proposed, the Bayhealth Medical Center has gotten approval for its 24-hour emergency department in Smyrna.

WHAT WE’VE REPORTED Last year, Bayhealth Medical Center announced their plans to open a 24-hour Emergency Department at the Bayhealth Smyrna-Clayton Medical Service Campus located on the corner of Carter Road and Wheatley’s Pond Road (Route 300).

Over the past year, the Delaware Health Resources Board has been reviewing documentation that explains the need for additional emergency services for northern Kent County and southern New Castle County.
At the time, Bayhealth President & CEO Terry Murphy, FACHE, explained through a press release the need for such a department in Smyrna.

“One clear need is emergency services. Once the regulatory review process and renovations are complete, Smyrna and Clayton residents suffering an emergency medical condition will be assured that emergency room doctors are only moments away to take care of them,” Murphy said in the release.

THE UPDATE One year after it was originally proposed, the Bayhealth Medical Center has gotten approval for its 24-hour emergency department in Smyrna.

The Delaware Health Resources Board unanimously approved last week the application from Bayhealth.

The department will be an expansion on the current building and will include an eight-bed Emergency Department. It is slated to open in the late next summer.

“Research has shown a growing need for emergency services in the Smyrna and Clayton communities. Access to an Emergency Department would greatly reduce response times for treating potentially life threatening emergencies,” said Bayhealth Senior Vice President for Planning John Van Gorp in a press release on Friday.

Research indicates that more than 6,000 patients per year travel from the Smyrna/Clayton area  to the Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital Emergency Department in Dover, Van Gorp said. The time to travel to Dover could mean the difference between life and death for some patients, especially in the case of heart attack patients.

Smyrna Town Manager Dave Hugg reiterated this fact earlier this month while discussing the possibility of the facility. 

“It’ll help so people are closer and not driving down to Dover or up to Christiana,” Hugg said.

Moreover, the facility will be in close vicinity to Kent County Emergency Services and Ambulance 64. Kent County EMS is nearby with their Medic 6 facility next door on Wheatleys Pond Road. Ambulance 64 is building a new station diagonally across the way on Smyrna-Clayton Boulevard.

WHAT’S NEXT Hugg attended the meeting where the Delaware Health Resources Board approved the project.

“I think it’s great. This was the last major hurdle in getting permission to move forward,” Hugg said.

From here, Hugg said Bayhealth will need to get building permits and other approvals from the town.

Throughout the process, Hugg said the project has gotten a lot of local support from the Business Development Committee to Town Council to elected officials. As a matter of fact, there was very little discussion during the meeting regarding the need for the facility.

“It was pretty well received as it’s an improvement to an area that’s rapidly growing,” Hugg said, “It’s an underserved area that will continue to be underserved as it grows.”