By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – The newly announced expansion of the Sister Caritas Cancer Center represents “a chance to integrate cancer service in a different way,” Daniel Moen, president and CEO of the Sisters of Providence Health System, said.
The announcement that Mercy Medical Center (MMC) would undertake a $15 million addition to the current cancer center was made on Oct. 24 at the 90th birthday celebration for Sister Mary Caritas, the former president of Mercy Hospital from 1977 to 1993.
Moen, speaking to Reminder Publications, explained the medical center offers “fairly limited medical oncology” but that has changed with the addition of Dr. Philip Glynn as the director of Medical Oncology. He has moved his practice to MMC bringing five oncologists with him.
Expanding the cancer center 23,800 square feet would allow for a greater “advocacy of services for patients,” Moen said. The increased center would change the kind of practice for cancer patents from an office-based to a hospital-based one, he added.
There would be a greater coordinated treatment, Moen explained with radiation, chemical and surgical oncology in one area as well as specialties such as imaging and pathology.
“It really does bring together all the specialties in a very appropriate way,” he said.
Pharmacy and lab space will also be part of the expanded center.
Moen added that he expects the center will generate new jobs as the number of patients increase.
The groundbreaking for the addition is scheduled for next spring and the construction time is estimated to be 18 months. Moen said the project is “fairly far along” in its planning.
The construction of the new center will not coincide with the current project rising on the MMC campus: a three-story medical office building. Moen said that building should be completed by March 1, 2014. The medical center does not own the building, but will be using about half of it for out patient services, orthopedics and hearing services. Hampden County Physicians Associates, Moen said, will lease the other half.
Moen said the financing for the expansion has not yet been determined although a capital campaign is being considered.