ARH celebrates completion of 18-month ARH Cancer Center expansion and renovation project with ribbon cutting ceremony in Hazard
It’s bigger, newer, better, and after an 18-month, $5 million expansion and renovation project to nearly double its size, hundreds gathered Tuesday to help the ARH Cancer Center in Hazard officially celebrate its opening with a special program and ribbon cutting ceremony.
ARH Cancer Center patients, staff and ARH officials were joined by state, local and healthcare leaders as well as Kentucky State Senator Brandon Smith, U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers and Dr. Mark Newman, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at UK HealthCare. Those attending the ceremony were entertained by KENTUCKY JUST US, a family group and First Artists in Residence of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the historic Renfro Valley.
Located on the campus of the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, the now 18,000-square-foot ARH Cancer Center is a long-term member of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network, originally opening as an affiliate in 2007.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare President and CEO Joe Grossman said the expansion project was brought upon by a severe need to increase the original 10,000 square foot facility due to a cancer epidemic like never before in eastern Kentucky. In the eight-county area the ARH Cancer Center serves alone, there are around 1,800 new cancer cases diagnosed per year. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 26,000 Kentuckians will be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2018, many of them in Appalachia.
The ARH Cancer Center itself provides around 10,000 cancer treatments per year. Here patients are able to receive advanced medical and radiation oncology treatments, as well as infusion services, all in the same building. In addition, they have access to surgical oncology services in the state-of-the-art surgical suites at the adjacent Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center and breast services in the designated ARH Breast Center at the ARH Medical Mall just minutes away. This enables patients to be close to their support team of family and friends at a time when they need it most.
Grossman said ARH closely monitors the changing health needs of its communities and bases the health system’s growth of services and major investments into its communities on those needs.
“In the 11 years since the ARH Cancer Center opened its doors, our patient volume has grown steadily as has the number of cancer cases in our region. More and more people are being touched in some way by this disease and we saw a desperate need in Hazard for additional space at the cancer center to give these patients local access to the care they deserve,” Grossman said. “In June 2017, construction began on a project to expand and renovate our cancer center to nearly double the size of the building and customize the space to meet the specific medical needs of our patients and our community.”
In addition to the cancer center’s specialists in medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology and surgical oncology, patients are cared for by our staff of highly-qualified oncology nurses, social workers, pathologists, and radiologists. This coordinated approach to treatment best meets the needs of each patient.
The Cancer Center expansion and renovation included an upgrade of the center’s linear accelerator used in radiation treatments. The new radiotherapy system is a fast, accurate imaging system which will allow for more treatment planning choices for a wider range of cancer cases, offering flexible, high-performance radiation beam generation, and the ability to tailor treatment with higher precision.
Grossman said the staff’s expertise combined with the patient-focused design and advanced technology and services at the newly expanded cancer center provides patients with the highest quality care, closer to home.
As the result of the expansion, the ARH Cancer Center now includes:
• The addition of 8,000-square-feet of needed space, making the center a spacious 18,000-square-foot treatment facility
• A new state-of the- art linear accelerator used for radiation therapy
• Nine exam rooms
• Expanded patient/family waiting areas
• Five restrooms
• 21 heated and massage chemotherapy chairs, increasing the space and number of patients who can receive chemotherapy or other infusions each day
• Three private chemotherapy rooms for patients who might have compromised immune systems
• On-site pharmacy
• The center is staffed with four medical oncologists, two radiation oncologists, two nurse practitioners, a designated nurse manager, a full nursing staff, and also a patient navigator who connects the patient with valuable resources throughout the treatment process.
Installed in the center’s chemotherapy suite is a bell in honor of longtime Cancer Center employee Agnes Caudill who passed away last October. Patients will ring the bell on completion of chemo treatments.
During the ceremony, Congressman Rogers shared his personal experience in dealing with his first wife’s battle with cancer as well as his efforts in Washington to secure additional federal funding for cancer research and treatment.
“I’m honored to join you to celebrate this new facility to fight cancer – it’s a devastating disease that has impacted nearly all of our lives,” he said. “It’s the moments of extreme illness in between treatments, and the on-going battle with depression and fear that can be overwhelming to cancer patients and families. A building won’t change that, but the heart of these doctors and nurses can – and now they will be right here in mountains, rather than hours away – and that makes an impact on the entire family.
I’m so proud to see this beautiful state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the coalfields – a place where patients can have support during treatments, help with transportation, and an entire community that cares.”
The ARH Cancer Center located on the campus of the Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center is a member of the renowned UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare is a not-for-profit health system currently operating 12 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, West Liberty, Whitesburg and South Williamson in Kentucky and Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs more than 5,000 people with an annual payroll and benefits of more than $330 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third largest private employer in southern West Virginia, and is consistently recognized for its medical excellence.