May 30--Good Samaritan Health System, along with Gov. Tom Corbett, unveiled a plan Thursday to build a $13-million, 21,000-square-foot Cancer Care Center. The Lebanon hospital received a $3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant to expand cancer care services, which includes the new building.
Corbett said the state receives hundreds of millions of dollars of requests each year for such projects.
"This will be a great beneficial use. It's getting medical care to the town, to Lebanon County," Gov. Corbett said. "This is a huge return on investment when you're talking about bringing health care into the community rather than having people travel great distances. They're going to be able to get much better health care here when it comes to the cancer. "
Corbett said the center will benefit the community in other ways, bringing 75 construction jobs and adding $3 million to the regional economy. Construction is expected to start in the fall. Beers & Hoffman of Lebanon is the architectural firm.
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In addition to the state grant, the hospital has received a $2 million pledge from the Bell & Evans, a chicken processing plant in Fredericksburg, owned by Scott Sechler. The center will be called the Sechler Family Cancer Center. Bell & Evans has been raising funds for the project through its annual golf tournaments. Sechler said the amount raised each year has been increasing, and he expects to raise between $160,000 and $180,000 this year.
"The new cancer center will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our friends and neighbors. People in our community deserve great medical support," Sechler said.
Officials said the hospital has received other donations and will soon begin a public capital campaign to raise additional funding for the project.
The new cancer center will be located in the Tuck Center, adjacent to hospital's wound center on Tuck Street, North Cornwall. The center will provide chemotherapy, infusion therapy, as well as the latest radiation treatment, according to the hospital's news release.
In addition, the center will house physician offices, lab services, a pharmacy, social worker, dietitian and spiritual center, the release stated.
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Vice president of patient care services Jackie Gould said the plan for the cancer center has been in the works since 2007, adding cancer care services to the hospital. In 2013, hospital officials applied for the state grant, she said.
"Last year, we felt we were at a point where we could seriously plan the center," she said. "We enhanced our cancer committee. We've been putting together all the quality benchmarks we needed."
Longo said the cancer center's integrated services will make a difference in the community. Longo said with GSHS's the pending merger with York-based Wellspan, the new cancer center will be able to share expertise and cases and to learn from each other.
"We'll be able to -- no matter what a person's needs might be, even if it seems hopeless and they're in clinical trials, we'll be able to bring that back here right at home in their community rather than have people travel," Longo said.
Longo said about 50 percent of the patients with cancer go to centers outside Lebanon County. "Right now, we are treating patients very well, we have top quality, but we can't do everything for the patients that we would like to," he said. "This will allow us to do that. I think a few years from now, we'll have a majority of the patients being treated here."
Longo said he does not believe the hospital's center will compete with the Lebanon Valley Cancer Center, a radiation oncology center also located on Tuck Street. Lebanon Valley Cancer Center opened in 1988, according to its website.
"There are always choices for people. This comprehensive center doesn't compel anyone to stay within that center for every possible thing," he said, adding that the hospital coordinates care with other local facilities "for the good of the patient."
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