Beebe, Sussex County EMS to launch new pilot program for COPD patients

Robbie Murray, Sussex County, EMS Deputy Director Operations, Robert Stuart, Sussex County EMS Director, Rick Schaffner, Beebe Healthcare Interim CEO, Executive Vice President & COO, and Kim Blanch, Community Services Manager, Beebe Healthcare Population Health, pose for a photo after signing a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations that will bring more personalized care to the homes of COPD patients. (Beebe Healthcare)

Beebe Healthcare and Sussex County EMS are partnering with the state of Delaware to improve quality of life and lower hospital readmissions for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The Mobile Integrated Healthcare COPD Pilot Program, the first in Delaware, was approved by Sussex County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 13. The initiative, slated to launch in September, allows Beebe Healthcare’s medical center at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus to identify patients who have or might have potential needs around their COPD condition. Once they enroll in the program, specially trained Sussex paramedics conduct home visits.

“Beebe Healthcare and Sussex County EMS have envisioned this partnership for a number of years,” said Rick Schaffner, Interim CEO, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer at Beebe Healthcare. “I think this innovation benefits all who live and visit Sussex County. We’re very grateful for the ongoing participation and think partnerships like these are really going to make our healthcare system work more effectively in the future.”

The partnership will provide patients with COPD more tools and education that will reduce the risk of another emergency department visit or hospital stay.

The paramedics visits are aimed at enhancing the understanding of COPD, current medications, and equipment used to treat the condition, including identifying any potential programs and services that could boost the quality of life and promote positive health outcomes for those living with COPD.

Part of the new program’s goal is to tackle transportation barriers that patients face like finding a pharmacy that delivers, or providing transportation services to assist with picking up prescriptions. In addition, the initiative will also focus on connecting COPD patients to community development organizations.

“We are confident that the implementation of Mobile Integrated Healthcare will enhance the delivery of care that is provided by both organizations,” Sussex County EMS Director Robert A. Stuart said. “The partnership between Sussex County EMS and Beebe Healthcare will drive positive outcomes for this pilot program and the patients it will serve.”

The new pilot program is free, voluntary, and made possible through the Beebe Medical Foundation which applied for and received grants of $31,200 from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and $61,500 from Discover Bank.

For the pilot program, enrollment will be based on number of emergency department visits and inpatient stays relating to COPD. Enrollment will be offered only to patients during their admission at Beebe; however, there are a number of options available to the community.

Beebe offers the Better Breathers Club every third Wednesday of each month, a support group for those who suffer from pulmonary diseases. Information on pulmonary disease and treatments are presented by respiratory therapists, physicians, dietitians, and pharmacists. Attendees suggest topics to discuss. The group meets in the Lewes Public Library at 2 p.m. For additional information, contact Kathi Dayton at (302) 645-3298.

“The goal of Beebe Healthcare’s Population Health department is to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for its residents, this pilot program and other offerings allow us to do that through patient engagement, education, and empowerment,” said Kim Blanch, RN, Community Services Manager, Beebe Healthcare Population Health.

For more information about the new initiative and Beebe Healthcare, go to To find out how Beebe Healthcare is Creating the Next Generation of Care for the community, go to