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Published on March 11, 2010

Loyola Affiliation for Oncology Services and Approval of New Cancer Center Come a Day Apart

March 11, 2010


Kishwaukee Community Hospital achieved two milestones this week that will significantly impact cancer treatment for area patients for years to come.

On March 1, the hospital signed a clinical affiliation agreement with Loyola University Medical Center, for advanced oncology services. Loyola is located near Chicago in Maywood.

On March 2, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board unanimously approved a certificate of need for the hospital’s new $15.8 million cancer center. Construction of the facility between Health Services Drive and Sycamore Road on the hospital campus is underway. The 26,500 square-foot building, which will bring outpatient cancer services under one roof, is expected to open by the end of the year.

Services will include medical oncology, radiation therapy, infusion therapy, hematology, PET/CT scanner for diagnostic imaging, laboratory, resource center, complementary medicine like massage therapy, and an image center for wigs and breast prostheses.

Patients will see benefits of the Loyola affiliation within the next two months. “The goal of the relationship is to enhance our oncology program by bringing additional oncology services to the community to reduce the need for patients to travel to other facilities or universities,” said Joseph Dant, KishHealth System vice president of business development, who has been working on the affiliation agreement and the cancer center project for two years. “Within a 24-hour period this week, we accomplished two things that will impact patients and our community for the next decade. The health system board and our CEO Kevin Poorten set the strategic vision for these initiatives five years ago.”

Loyola President and CEO Paul K. Whelton, MB, MD, MSc., said Loyola's academic research and care will complement the high-quality care at Kishwaukee  Hospital. The affiliation also will further Loyola's mission of broadening access to its world-class services and leading-edge research. "Now, patients from the DeKalb area can enjoy the comforts of their home hospital as they benefit from the evidence-based care brought by specialists from Loyola," Whelton said.

The Loyola Center for Cancer Care & Research at Kishwaukee Community Hospital will be located in the existing Kishwaukee Cancer Care Center on Health Services Drive until the new facility is open. Cancer patients will have local access to clinical trials being conducted by Loyola faculty through a Clinical Trials Office at Kish Hospital, and Loyola subspecialists will consult on cancer patients.

Kish Hospital and Loyola are investigating the feasibility of a telepresence collaboration, in which Loyola specialists would consult with Kish Hospital physicians over the Internet. Using a robot equipped with a full-color, high definition camera and microphone, a Loyola specialist would be able to talk to the patient and the patient's family, doctors and nurses. Lab results and images such as CT scans would be transmitted over a secure Internet connection. Telepresence provides access to academic medical care with reduced wait times and travel.

“Bringing subspecialists to Kishwaukee Community Hospital will facilitate more timely consultations and keep patients in the community for treatment,” said Debra Bemis, director of oncology services for KishHealth System. Subspecialists are oncologists and surgeons with specialized training in such areas as leukemia treatment or thoracic surgery for lung cancer.

The hospital’s oncologists, Dr. Sabet Siddiqui, medical director of medical oncology and hematology services;  Dr. M. Ishaqe Memon, medical oncologist and hematologist; and Dr. Bharati Bhatemedical director of radiation therapy services, are looking forward to this formal relationship with Loyola.

“The relationship with Loyola will provide access for our patients to specialties that are not currently available here which will allow us to implement a greater multi-disciplinary approach to their cancer treatment,” Dr. Bhate said.

Dr. Siddiqui said he and Dr. Memon have consulted before with the Loyola specialists.  “The affiliation will give patients options for getting the newest treatments offered in clinical trials. In addition, it will provide better continuity of care for those needing advanced care and treatments at a university hospital.”

Kevin Poorten, KishHealth System President and CEO, credited the efforts of Dant, Bemis, and Michael Kokott, vice president of marketing and planning, for taking these two initiatives from a vision to a reality. “They made it happen,” Poorten said. “It’s a huge step forward for the health system and a huge advancement in cancer care for our community.”

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