Beebe Medical Center Requests State Approval for New Cancer Facility
Beebe Medical Center president Jeffrey M. Fried; Beebe radiation oncologist Brian Costleigh, MD; and Tunnell Cancer Center patient Sarah Brady urged the Delaware Health Care Resources Board September 30, 2003, to approve a new $5.2 million radiation oncology facility at the Beebe Health Campus. The Board is the state healthcare-planning agency that approves major projects.
Brady, who attributes her cancer survival to Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center, said the new facility would be a tremendous benefit for persons undergoing radiation oncology treatments.
The Beebe Health Campus facility on Route 24 would be a satellite to the Tunnell Cancer Center in Lewes. Included in the proposed facility would be the hospital’s second linear accelerator. The current linear accelerator has been operating at volumes two-to-three times the industry average.
Last year, the linear accelerator at the Tunnell Cancer Center averaged 45 patient treatments per day. According to the Radiation Oncology Benchmark Report - 2000, by the Technology Marketing Group, Inc., the average number of radiation oncology treatments by U.S. hospitals with less than 200 beds is 21 patient treatments per day. (Beebe Medical Center is licensed for 148 beds.) The Tunnell Cancer Center opened Sussex County’s first linear accelerator at the Tunnell Cancer Center in Lewes in 1995.
The second linear accelerator being requested would be placed in a new 11,000 square-foot facility at the Beebe Health Campus on Route 24. With the large percentage of Beebe Medical Center’s oncology patients coming from the Route 113 area and communities south and west of Route One, this site would be convenient for most of Beebe Medical Center’s patients.
Following the opening of the new cancer facility, a decision will be made if the first linear accelerator at the Hospital should be upgraded or replaced. Projections are the Beebe Health Campus facility would be ready to serve patients in about two years.
To handle future growth, Beebe Medical Center is considering the phased, multi-year relocation of the Tunnell Cancer Center from the Savannah Road hospital to the Beebe Health Campus.
In the distant future, if Beebe relocates the Tunnell Cancer Center from Savannah
Road to Route 24, and depending on patient demand, the original linear accelerator may be relocated from the hospital to the Beebe Health Campus.
There were 9,237 patient radiation treatments at the Tunnell Cancer Center/Lewes in 1999. Last year, there were 10,919 treatments provided. Two years ago, the linear accelerator at Beebe Medical Center was operating nine hours a day. Currently, Beebe Medical Center operates the linear accelerator on average 10-13 hours per day.
An additional linear accelerator will be needed to accommodate population growth in Sussex County. The population in eastern Sussex County increased 116% from 1980 to 2000. There was a 159% population increase for those 55-74 years of age and a 247% increase for those 75 and older.