Dr. Tam: Beebe Healthcare Opening Up Access to Care for Community
Something like COVID can really change your perspective on what really is important in your life – like family, friends, and health. As a result of the pandemic crisis, many of us had to look at how we take care of ourselves and ensure we are doing the things necessary to stay healthy – for ourselves and our community. We’ve tried to take the time to learn more about how our diets, exercise regimens, and ways we care for ourselves impact our physical and emotional well-being.
But we cannot do it alone. Primary care physician, family doctor, advanced practice provider – they have many names and titles – but all play a vital role in our health and wellness. Beebe Medical Group’s primary care providers are there for you – whether that be for a Medicare Annual Wellness visit, yearly physicals (did you know the two are not the same?), to help track your important vitals like blood pressure, glucose levels, those few extra pounds, or signs and symptoms of a potentially serious condition that will need the guidance of one of Beebe Medical Group’s 40-plus specialists.
It is well proven that access to primary care has been an issue in Delaware and Sussex County. According to the Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of Public Health’s Delaware Primary Care & Specialist Physicians Survey, Sussex County featured 112 full-time equivalent Primary Care providers in 2018. That is significantly lower than in 2008 when 163 full-time practitioners were providing care in the county.
The Federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) uses the threshold measure of 2,000 people per 1 provider (2000:1) to identify shortage areas and Sussex County’s ratio of is 2,014:1.
There is a shortage of healthcare providers across the nation, and that affects each community in different ways. We at Beebe Healthcare are committed to doing all that we can to help close that gap. It’s been a longtime commitment of Beebe’s leadership prior to my arrival in March, but I am proud to say we have opened up additional access to primary care providers throughout Sussex County during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging all of us.
Beebe has welcomed quite a few new primary care practitioners during the past few months. With access now available throughout the county, you can call 302-645-3332 to make an appointment with the provider closest to you.
Additionally, we have updated and improved many Walk-In Care centers throughout Sussex County, staffed with compassionate providers who offer same-day appointments for your non-emergent needs. Safety is at the forefront at everything we do, and our walk-in clinics are no exception. You will find all the same safety measures at our walk-ins that are found at our provider practices, main hospital cancer centers, and freestanding Emergency Department. These include visual cues on the floors, seats and other locations to enforce physical distancing, face covering requirements for everyone, Plexiglas at registration and other areas, and stringent cleaning and disinfecting measures in both the waiting areas and patient rooms.
All of our dedicated providers are here to help you on your individual journeys to optimal health and wellness. In my many years in healthcare, I’ve known that the relationship between patient and primary provider is critical to ensuring the best possible health outcomes.
Our providers are truly your first line of defense in identifying the symptoms or development of concerning conditions. With a strong family doctor relationship, diseases and chronic conditions can be managed instead of turning into a crisis situation or emergency.
And when in need, our primary care providers can get you the referral to the appropriate specialty care provider – a growing field in Sussex County and Beebe Medical Group. We are on a quest to quickly bring the highest quality specialty providers to our community – like Elisabeth Mulroy, MD, a robotically trained urologist who trained at great institutions like Creighton University in Omaha and the University Connecticut. She could have gone anywhere, but she decided to live in Sussex County and join Beebe Medical Group in September and become part of the Next Generation of Care here at Beebe Healthcare.
I admit that there is much work to do, but Beebe Healthcare is committed to building the healthcare services Sussex County deserves – whether that is the supportive care with a primary care provider, the care you need right away at one of our four Walk-In Care Centers, the specialty care that keeps you close to home, or the lifesaving care at our two emergency departments.
Beebe Healthcare truly appreciates your support and partnership in working to make Sussex County a place of wellness and health.