Georgetown to get behavioral health hospital

The new two-story, 93,000-square-foot, $25 million behavioral health hospital will be built on approximately six acres of land at the College Park campus in Georgetown.
The new two-story, 93,000-square-foot, $25 million behavioral health hospital will be built on approximately six acres of land at the College Park campus in Georgetown.

By Christi Milligan

Sun Behavioral Health, in conjunction with real estate development firm the ONIX Group, have announced they will break ground on a 90-bed inpatient hospital on the College Park Retail & Office campus in Georgetown. The two-story, 93,000- square-foot, $25 million center will be built on approximately six acres of land at the College Park campus in Georgetown, directly across from the Delaware Technical Community College on Del. 404.

According to Steve Page, CEO and president of Sun Behavioral Health, his company was approached by Beebe Healthcare in 2014, as officials sought to meet the increasing behavioral health demands of Sussex County.

“This is a population that is underserved across the country and where there’s an opportunity to add services of this magnitude,” said Page. “Any time we build a hospital, we want it to be accessible to as many people as possible and Sussex County had a need.”

Currently, the closest Delaware residential health facility is Dover Behavioral Health.  Delaware is also home to Newark-based Rockford Center and MeadowWood Behavioral Health System in New Castle.

Page said the new hospital could employ up to 140 people, but will open with about 70 employees.

“We will draw a number of clinicians to this area,” said Page. “Right now there are very few psychiatrists in southern Delaware. That’s really the benefit of a new facility like this.”

There are 10 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in Sussex County, according to Page’s research.  The national average is 14, he said. Clinicians will offer in-house assessments and will also offer mobile assessments at area hospitals.

Traveling up to two hours means some patients don’t get the care they need or they’re pulled away from their communities during the recovery process, Page added.

Since being approached by Beebe in 2014, the Delaware Health Resources Board approved the certificate of need submitted by Sun, and upheld the application after it was contested by Universal Health Services, Inc., which operates the Rockford Center and Dover Behavioral Health System.

That appeal was put to rest after the General Assembly approved legislation that allowed the hospital to proceed without additional review earlier this summer.

The facility will be located at the crossroads of Del. 404 and U.S. 113, making it easily accessible from eastern and western Sussex County, Kent County and neighboring Maryland counties. The facility will feature several inpatient units, recreational areas, an outdoor courtyard and various treatment and support areas.

According to its website, Sun Behavioral Health offers the following services:

  • Inpatient psychiatric and substance abuse treatment
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • 24-hour assessments
  • Crisis stabilization

The company received a performance-based grant from the Delaware Economic Development Office to support staffing, Page said.

The project will take approximately 18 months to construct and will open for patient admissions in May 2018. The ONIX Group of Kennett Square, Pa., is the owner and developer of the site.

Sun Behavioral Health is a Red Bank, N.J.- based health-care organization that operates several other hospitals across the country, including inpatient hospitals in Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Texas, and Edgewood, Ky.

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