$1 Million Grant from Highmark Delaware to Increase Primary Care Access in Sussex County
Captions: From left to right, Harrison Eckert, DO, resident physician; Karen Duffield, Grants Coordinator; Joyce Robert, MD, Program Director; Ted Becker; Tom Protack, President, Beebe Medical Foundation; Paul Magliato, Project Manager; Nick Moriello, President of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware; Cassian Roberts, Simulation Technician; David Tam, MD, President & CEO, Beebe Healthcare; Paul Sierzenski, MD, Chief Physician Executive; Tanya Ray, Administrative Director; Tim Constantine, Highmark Board of Directors; and Zaida Gaujardo, BluePrints for the Community Councilmember.
Beebe Healthcare hosted Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield officials in Lewes on Thursday to celebrate a $1 million grant that will help fund a new clinic in Long Neck for the Family Medicine Residency.
The initial renderings and floor plans of the location were unveiled during the visit. A groundbreaking event will be scheduled for later this year with the developer.
“Beebe Healthcare is continually transforming to serve the people of Sussex County,” said David A. Tam, MD, MBA, CPHE, FACHE, President & CEO, Beebe Healthcare. “Access to primary care is one of our strategic cornerstones for the future of healthcare, and we’re growing our own family medicine physicians to serve our expanding community.”
The grant was awarded in 2022, and funding has supported the development of the facility alongside medical equipment and information systems for the residency.
Beebe’s first four family medicine resident physicians started in July 2023. They have been seeing patients at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus and at Beebe Primary Care Long Neck, which currently serves as the residency’s continuity clinic. The office functions as a full-service primary care office, including seeing discharged patients, performing minor procedures, and offering women’s health services. The resident physicians accept patients of all ages.
Cassian Roberts, Simulation Technician, provides a tour and explanation of how the simulation labs at the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing are beneficial for nursing students as well as the Family Medicine Residency.
This new building project at the Long Neck Health Center will give current and future residents more space to serve a culturally diverse population in an area that continues to grow. With the full complement of residents, the doctors will be able to provide about 7,000 primary care appointments.
The funding is thanks to Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s donor-advised fund, BluePrints for the Community, which is housed at the Delaware Community Foundation, and has contributed over $30 million to the community since its inception in 2007. It was established to serve Delawareans, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the needs of the uninsured and underserved, and to reduce healthcare disparities in minority populations, and address social determinants of health.
“Highmark is committed to developing the workforce we need now and in the future to support better health outcomes in Delaware and beyond,” said Nick Moriello, President of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware. “Our colleagues at Beebe have committed to attracting and retaining health professionals in Sussex County and we are proud to partner with them to accomplish this.”
The new clinic seals Beebe’s residency program as a special offering for prospective residents and victory for access for Sussex Countians. A recently renovated Shaw Building which houses the R. Randall Rollins Center for Medical Education – in combination with this new outpatient location – pairs Beebe’s clinical excellence with its 108-year legacy in an area that is rapidly growing and in need of primary care services.
“This is such an amazing project and contribution toward the future success of our Family Medicine Residency,” said Joyce Robert, MD, Program Director. “We are very excited and grateful to lay this foundation to help Beebe continue providing high quality primary care to Sussex County.”
As Beebe’s philanthropic arm, Beebe Medical Foundation is essential in the process of applying, receiving, and appropriating grants like this for the healthcare system’s programs.
“We are so grateful to Highmark’s leaders and their philanthropic vision to support Beebe’s Family Medicine Residency,” said Tom Protack, President, Beebe Medical Foundation. “Our resident physicians are so excited to care for patients in a brand-new space in one of the fastest growing areas in Sussex County.”