Officials from Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Saint Vincent Hospital today unveiled plans for a new, state-of-the-art cancer center on the Saint Vincent campus that will provide the residents of Erie and its neighboring communities with a comprehensive level of cancer care that is unprecedented in the region.
Construction of the new $25.6 million, 36,474 square-feet Cancer Center will begin today, with an expected opening in December, 2019. It will be located on the southwest corner of 25th and Myrtle streets, just adjacent to both the Saint Vincent Surgery Center and the main hospital building.
“Saint Vincent has served as northwest Pennsylvania’s most trusted provider of high-quality health care services for more than a century. That legacy has only grown stronger in recent years as we have continued to invest significantly in new capabilities and innovations to meet the needs of our patients,” said Chrisopher Clark, DO, MHA, President of Saint Vincent Hospital. “Last year, we broke ground on our new Emergency Department and operating rooms, and construction is well underway for the new Women and Infants Center that will open later this year. Today, we are taking another significant step forward in developing a facility that will transform cancer care in our region.”
The AHN Cancer Institute at Saint Vincent is one component of a $225 million commitment to improve and expand access to leading-edge cancer care in western PA by Highmark Health and AHN. The center is one of a half dozen community-based cancer treatment facilities that AHN will be building over the next few years. The broader investment also includes a new academic cancer institute at Allegheny General Hospital and an expanded relationship with the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, offering AHN patients, including those in Erie, enhanced local access to Johns Hopkins’ cancer expertise and clinical trials.
“The evidence is clear that patients benefit immensely by having access to well-coordinated, comprehensive health care services close to home and under one roof,” said Cynthia Hundorfean, AHN’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new AHN Cancer Institute at Saint Vincent is another example of AHN and Highmark delivering on that promise for the people who live and work in this community.”
As part of the AHN Cancer Institute, the new facility at Saint Vincent will provide a wide array of clinical and support services for cancer patients, including state-of-the-art radiation oncology capabilities, medical oncology and infusion therapy, nutritional counseling, social services and access to clinical trials being coordinated by the network’s quaternary hospitals, AGH and West Penn, and Johns Hopkins.
The AHN Cancer Institute at Saint Vincent will bring new jobs to the region, in addition to those who currently work in cancer care at the hospital.
Designed to enhance patient comfort, the center will feature abundant natural light and soft colors to create a calming and comfortable environment for patients and their families. The facility will house infusion therapy bays for patients that look out over beautifully landscaped “healing gardens”.
“Our goal is to create a one-of-a kind, patient-centered model of cancer care that provides the best possible experience and outcomes for those who are battling this disease,” said Dr. Clark.”
As the U.S. population continues to grow older and more diverse, the number of cancer diagnoses is rising. About 1.7 million new cancer cases – 81,000 in Pennsylvania alone - are expected to be diagnosed in 2018, a two percent hike from 2015, according to the American Cancer Society. In addition, the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. is expected to rise to from 15.5 million to 20.3 million in 2026. The need for better cancer screening, treatment and surveillance will increase accordingly.
“Investing in more services to care for our patients close to where they live is critical to addressing the escalating cancer care needs of the western Pennsylvania community in the most effective and affordable manner, today and in the future,” said David Parda, MD, Chair, AHN Cancer Institute.