St. Joseph Regional Health Network the week of Aug. 8 began construction that will nearly double the size of the clinical care area where chemotherapy and other infusion therapies are provided on the Bern Township campuses’ Cancer Center. The expansion also will make accessing the services easier as all cancer center services will be on the same floor. The nearly $1 million project is expected to be completed this fall.
Karen Wagner, Director of Oncology Services, says St. Joseph’s cancer program has grown significantly since it began its affiliation with Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute nearly five years ago. She said the recent expansion was necessary because hours for infusion services are running late into weekday evenings and on Saturdays to meet patients’ needs.
As an affiliate of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, St. Joseph cancer patients have access to 30 clinical trials that can offer potentially new life saving treatments. St. Joseph also is able to expedite patient access to cancer sub-specialist in Hershey who then return the patient to St. Joe’s for the balance of their treatment.
“This partnership is working,” explains Dr. Marc Rovito, St. Joseph’s Chief of Oncology. “Patients typically prefer to receive their care close to home, but when all of the care cannot be provided for in their community, helping them access it elsewhere and then return home to finish treatment is a viable alternative.”
Dr. Rovito, who works full-time at St. Joseph’s Bern Township campus, is on the medical staff at Penn State Hershey and is a faculty member of the Penn State Hershey School of Medicine. Dr. Rovito also said St. Joseph Cancer Center is adding another nurse practitioner later this year.
“The fact that we need to expand is an illustration of the referring physicians’ belief in us,” Dr. Rovito explains. “We have worked hard to establish good relationships by providing comprehensive care, as well as communicating quickly and regularly on each patient’s progress.”
The St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation Board this week unanimously voted to use Foundation funds for the expansion costs.