Read on to learn the latest on Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center expansion plans in the South Coastal region.
To meet the needs of our growing community and to answer the demand for expanded services, Beebe Healthcare is proposing to construct a 13,500-square-foot expansion of Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center in the South Coastal region on Route 17 near Millville by the Sea. The new cancer center will be part of the Beebe Health Campus- South Campus, housing both a freestanding emergency department as well as home to a state-of-the-art second location for Beebe Healthcare’s renowned Tunnell Cancer Center.
This new cancer center would feature full-service cancer treatment, including infusion therapy, medical oncology, and radiation oncology, as well as outreach and support services. The estimated cost of the project is $32 million, and will add approximately 25 new staff positions. The goal is to break ground in the Fall of 2018, and construction is estimated to take about three years.
It is projected that Beebe Healthcare’s Oncology Service Line will experience a 31.7 percent growth between Fiscal years 2016- 2022. In addition, Sussex County is expected to experience a 7.4 percent population growth compared to the national growth of the United States at 3.8 percent over the next five years.
According to Barry Hamp, Executive Director of Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center, “the single most important thought behind the new design is how that design will impact the patients. Every design meeting attended by the Tunnell Cancer Center design team has included previous cancer patients from Tunnell. Their role has been to tell us what will work best for patients. For instance, we have designed the location of patient spaces so there is less distance for patients to walk. We have designed the exam room area so that the physicians’ workspace better enables them to work together in a multidisciplinary way to maximize patient care. We have added a food service area to for patients who are here over the lunch hour. We have included space for a boutique, classes and consultations with nutritionists, social workers and other providers.”
Convenience and consistency are very important to cancer patients because of the frequency of treatment appointments. This effort alone can be very exhausting. The proposed new facility offers to provide some relief to those patients living in the Millville area.
Hamp stresses, “I think one thing to remember is that this is an expansion of the services offered at Tunnell in a new building and a new location. The importance of this is that now patients who choose to have their cancer treated by Tunnell Cancer Center will be able to choose the facility that is the closest and most convenient to their homes. There will be no difference in care.”
It is also anticipated that, as the new facility nears opening, patients will have the option of where to continue their treatment and where they would like to visit their oncologist. The volume of patients who choose the Millville site will determine the number of physicians and total staff positions required. Appointments and treatment schedules will be booked before opening so as not to waste any opportunities to serve patients who choose the new facility.
*Note: This article was updated on 1/26/18 to reflect recent changes with the proposed project.