HOCKESSIN — ChristianaCare has added another primary care office to its network that spans four states earlier this month.
Quality Family Physicians on Yorklyn Road in Hockessin finalized the agreement to join Delaware’s largest health care system on Sept. 6 after a year of discussions. The practice has been led by Dr. Katherine Willey since 1999, and has 13 caregivers today.
“We are excited to expand our health care services while still giving you the personal touch,” Willey wrote in a letter to patients on the practice’s website. “This means the well-known faces you have come to trust and speak with will still be here. Our care coordination, chronic care management, prior authorization, and test result review will not change. Most importantly, this will allow me to return to spending more time in the exam room. These last few years have been extremely difficult as a physician and private practitioner. This will allow me to do what I love the most – see and directly care for patients.”
Under the arrangement, the practice has been renamed ChristianaCare Primary Care at Stone Mill.
“ChristianaCare strives to make a positive impact on the health of every person in every community we serve,” ChristianaCare Chief Population Officer Christine Donohue-Henry said in a prepared statement. “That includes increasing access to primary care services that will help people achieve their very best health. [This] addition strengthens ChristianaCare as a preferred provider of high-quality primary care services in communities of Northern Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania.”
ChristianaCare expects to add two caregivers to the Stone Mill practice in the near future, including family practice physician Dr. Genevieve Minick, who will join in October.
With the addition of the Hockessin practice, ChristianaCare has 30 primary care offices in the First State, southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as in Cecil County, Md.
Twenty of those primary care offices are in Delaware alone, and ChristianaCare is planning on adding two more in the near future: one in Rehoboth Beach and one in Milford.
ChristianaCare also has a practice across the parking lot from its newest practice, and Donohue-Henry said that the future plan would be to find a new location to join the two together.
“In addition, we continue to explore ways to offer new services, and those would be defined in the future. The first step was the integration of the Stone Mill practice,” she told the Delaware Business Times in an email.
The Stone Mill practice is also the latest in a string of additions from Delaware’s largest private employer. This year, ChristianaCare has focused its attention north and acquired two primary care practices in Jennersville and West Grove, Pa., which were part of the ailing Tower Health health care system. That acquisition alone added 26 employees to ChristianaCare.
Four months later, ChristianaCare acquired Jennersville Hospital for $8 million.
Donohue-Henry told DBT that ChristianaCare has a continuous need for primary care clinicians to address Delaware’s growing communities.
“We are recruiting for new clinicians to join our team. At times physicians in private practice reach out to us to explore the possibilities of employment with us,” she said. We welcome this outreach and explore in partnership with them what the options might be.”
A 2019 survey commissioned by the state Department of Health and Social Services and conducted by the University of Delaware showed a 6% decline in primary care doctors.
That same report showed that full-time equivalent (FTE) primary care providers were the most numerous in New Castle County, with 461 in 2018. That year also showed there were 1,231 people served by one FTE primary care physician in New Castle County, slightly below the statewide ratio of 1,475 patients per FTE caregiver.