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Board approves one-stop outpatient cancer center

Proposed location runs along Barnett Road after the Murphy Road intersection on the left. (John Stoeckl){p}{/p}
Proposed location runs along Barnett Road after the Murphy Road intersection on the left. (John Stoeckl)

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Asante is planning a $64 million outpatient cancer center east of the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center campus to meet the growing demand for cancer services in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

The approximately 80,000-square-foot building will house all outpatient cancer services in one location, making treatment more convenient for patients. Currently, cancer patients in Southern Oregon must go to several different places to get lab tests, imaging, radiation, chemotherapy, doctor consultations and other services.

"It actually started with our providers and clinicians in the community asking us to do something different in cancer services." Asante CEO Scott Kelly said. "Something significant as a health system."

Rogue Regional Medical Center is known for it's awarded cardiology center. Kelly said he'd like to see the new Cancer Treatment Center receive the same recognition some day.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for patients to get the services they need, all under one roof,” says Kristi Blackhurst, vice president of operations at Asante Rogue Regional.

Over 2,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year in Jackson and Josephine counties. That number is expected to grow by nearly 20% over the next 10 years.

"We serve around 600,000 people." Kelly said. " We tend to think about Jackson and Josephine County so, it’s a pretty wide area." With the new treatment center, Kelly said it could also eliminate the need for many cancer patients that have had to travel to bigger cities for basic treatment.

"We all know someone who’s been affected by cancer one way or another." Kelly said. " This will allow them to stay home. Have support services."

The new building will include:

An infusion center with semi-private spaces and expansive views

Expanded nurse navigator and social work programs to help guide patients through treatment

Support services, including diagnostic imaging, retail pharmacy, laboratory and nutrition services

Complementary care, including facilitated support groups, oncological massage and a donation resource center

Office space for specialists to consult with patients and their families

Telemedicine, bone marrow clinic and gynecological oncology

The new center also will have the latest radiation oncology technology and treatment modalities and will include offices for medical oncologists from Hematology Oncology Associates in a partnership with Asante. This partnership also includes radiation oncology and other services for Josephine County patients at Spears Cancer Center at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center.

The project is still in the preliminary stage, and Asante representatives have been meeting with patients and medical providers to gather input on what services and features they’d like included.

“One of their most urgent requests is for more space in the infusion room,” says Maggie Schultz, director of cancer services at Asante Rogue Regional. “In the new center, they’ll have places for privacy, rest and relaxation.”

The Asante Foundation is launching a $10 million campaign to support the new cancer center. “This is one of the most attractive philanthropic opportunities in our community’s history,” said Andrea Reeder, campaign director at Asante Foundation. “We are launching AsanteForward, a bold campaign raising $50 million to redefine cancer care for patients in our region along with other impactful projects and programs.”

The Asante Board of Directors approved the project at its Sept. 10 meeting. The Medford Planning Commission on Aug. 22 voted unanimously to grant Asante’s request to rezone the property to C-S/P (commercial-service/professional).

Ground breaking is set to begin in February, and the construction of the Cancer Treatment Center will take approximately 22 months to complete. Expected date to open is fall of 2021..

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