Baptist Health opens new Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center

Baptist Health opens new Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center

A throng of dignitaries and medical staff watch as the new Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center sign is unveiled atop the former Baptist Outpatient Building Oct. 17.

In what Baptist Health President and CEO Hugh Greene termed a “transformational moment” in the 60-year history of his healthcare system, Baptist Health went to war on cancer by officially opening the Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center at a press conference Oct. 17 in San Marco.
The new center, which became operational Oct. 1, is housed in what was formerly Baptist’s former Outpatient Center on San Marco Boulevard.

MDAnderson_04The event marked the merger between the Northeast Florida healthcare system and MD Anderson of Houston, Texas, one of the nation’s top cancer centers, which is devoted exclusively to patient care, research, education and prevention.

During a press conference, Greene said the center represented the marriage of two organizations that are equally committed to delivering comprehensive and advanced cancer care. “It is not a merging of logos or a labeling exercise,” Greene said. The center will replicate the model of care patients find at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas giving residents in North Florida “little need to travel outside of their community,” he said.

Also speaking at the press conference were Dr. Ronald A. DePinho, President of MD Anderson; Ceree Hardin of Ortega, chairman of Baptist Medical Center’s Board of Directors; and Dr. Joe B. (Bill) Putnam of San Marco, the center’s new medical director. Putnam formerly worked as a thoracic surgeon at Vanderbilt University and was a faculty member in the department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery at MD Anderson’s Houston campus for 15 years.

One-stop shop

As a one-stop shop for cancer care, the new center will be a single destination for cancer patients and their families by including medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgery, pathology, laboratory, diagnostic imaging, infusion and other support clinical services. Private infusion therapy stations, large patient exam rooms, nursing stations and comfortable waiting areas designed to full of natural light with colorful artwork on the walls have been modeled after MD Anderson’s outpatient clinics in Houston.

MDAnderson_01The new center in San Marco comprises 100,000 square feet of space and will include everything a family needs to support both the patient and caregivers as they battle the disease.

On hand will be a staff of 240 including 40 experienced physicians with expertise in major oncology specialties such as breast, gynecological, urology, gastrointestinal, thoracic, neurological, colorectal, lung, prostate, melanoma, sarcoma and more.  The staff will provide “integrated” and “seamless” cancer care, with patients getting personalized treatment plans, Putnam said.

To support families, the center will offer specialists in oncology navigation, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, genetics, personal counseling, psychological care, pastoral care and social services.

“This unique program is designed to address the complete continuum of care for the cancer patient and their family,” Putnam said. “Every new patient will have the benefit of not just a single set of physician’s or surgeon’s eyes, but a multidisciplinary group of experts specific to that patient’s cancer.”

At the end of the press conference, before the outside sign atop the new Center was unveiled, Greene mentioned that Baptist has purchased much of the land comprising two city blocks across the street from the center on San Marco Boulevard. On that property Baptist Health plans to construct a new building, which will be final home to the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Construction on this building is in its design phase. Its anticipated opening will be early 2018, he said.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News
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