GCMH Announces Opening of Cancer Center & Clinical Affiliation With WVUH

Last Updated on Aug 6, 2015 at 11:29am | Health & Social

"What's Happening" is a regular feature of The Lake-Front magazine and is being reprinted here in its entirety with permission. This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue.
President and CEO of Garrett County Memorial Hospital, Mark Boucot has announced the opening of a new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center at the Hospital. The new Cancer Care Center is expected to open for patients in January 2016 and will be located on the first floor in the original hospital building.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., as well as Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Cancer is also the second leading cause of death in Garrett County. The need for cancer care services here in Garrett County is particularly important for early screening and prevention programs because the mortality rates for Breast and Colorectal Cancers in Garrett County specifically are 25% higher than the rest of the state and the nation and 15% higher for prostate cancer, according to the Garrett County Health Department statistics.
While the need for services provided locally is paramount, access to cancer care services has been minimal, which forces residents to travel at least one hour each way to the nearest regional medical center. “This is a real hardship for our residents, especially the elderly, disabled, and under-employed people who often may go without access to cancer care services entirely,” stated Boucot.
Approval for the new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center was given to Mark Boucot by Donna Kinzer, Executive Director of the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) in June of this year. “Obtaining the HSCRC approval is an important step that required extensive data gathering and strategic planning to present the case for the GCMH request to open the center,” explained Boucot. GCMH considers the HSCRC to be a strategic partner of the hospital. The agency is responsible for setting hospital rates and ensuring that hospitals in Maryland meet reporting guidelines and adhere to established hospital revenue and rate setting standards. GCMH administration was very appreciative of the support from the HSCRC to implement the Cancer Care and Infusion Services Program.
Over the last year, Garrett County Memorial Hospital has reinvigorated its relationship with the American Cancer Society and the hospital also enjoys a longstanding relationship with Cindy’s Fund. The availability of cancer care in the community has become a priority with both administration and staff at Garrett County Memorial Hospital. The Hospital’s Relay for Life team, headed by Jessica Lucas as Team Captain, is poised to raise over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society. “GCMH’s new cancer center will not only save lives, but change lives. Having the hospital as the top sponsor for Relay For Life of Garrett County, as well as one of the top fundraising teams, speaks volumes. Having the hospital’s support, to show our community that we are committed as partners in the fight against cancer, has given new hope to the people of Garrett County,” said Courtney Case, Community Manager for the American Cancer Society.
To support its efforts to provide Cancer Care services, the hospital applied and was awarded a three year grant of $600,000 from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which paved the way to implement a new Nurse Navigator Program for Cancer Care in Garrett County. The nurse navigator will help patients find medical services and assist with research and education on the disease processes. The program will also identify social and support services for patients and families to cope with the hardship of a cancer diagnosis. Hospital leaders recently announced the selection of Gina Artice, RN as the first Nurse Navigator. With the program already getting underway, Artice explained, “Our goal is to ensure positive patient experiences and outcomes. My role is to support patients in their journey and provide assistance whenever they need it.”
The new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center has been embraced by community members that are poised to kick off a capital campaign drive, specifically for the center. The fund raising initiative is being led by Dorothy and Darryl Walters and is setting a goal to raise over $1 million in community and corporate support. “This is definitely a project we can all rally behind- One million reasons to beat cancer,” said Dorothy Walters. Also volunteering to help with the project are Tracy Bemiller, Bill Grant, Sandy Hill, Carole Perez, Rob Sharps, and Bill Weissgerber.
The provision of cancer care services locally at Garrett County Memorial Hospital has been endorsed by our congressional leaders as well. Their letters of concern and support for the Nurse Navigator Program and the New Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center show their dedication to the community at large. “We should be doing everything we can to provide Marylanders – wherever they live – with access to affordable and quality health care,” said U.S. Representative John Delaney. State Senator George Edwards added, “The Cancer Care Center at GCMH will be able to provide the most up to date medical treatments available so patients won’t have to travel great distances to connect with cancer care services. This is a great happening for the Garrett Region.”
To support the Cancer Care effort, Garrett County Memorial Hospital has implemented a Clinical Affiliation with West Virginia University Healthcare (WVUH). “Our first goal will be to provide Cancer Care Services here in Garrett, and afterwards, the clinical affiliation will help GCMH to improve the community’s access to specialty and subspecialty care, as well as support physician recruitment initiatives,” explained Mark Boucot. WVU was chosen as the hospital’s partner following a proposal process led by Henrietta Lease, the GCMH Board leader of the Strategic Planning Committee. Proposals were sought from other large hospitals in the surrounding areas, however, Western Maryland Health System declined to submit a proposal.
Regarding Cancer Care and this new affiliation, Boucot stated, “We are pleased and honored to announce the new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center will be a satellite of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center of WVUH, located at Garrett County Memorial Hospital.” Recruitment efforts are getting started for a medical oncologist hematologist to lead the center. “We are excited to be partnering with GCMH to provide Cancer Care and other specialty services in Garrett County. It’s our mission to provide high quality care in the communities we serve,” stated Albert Wright, President and CEO of WVUH. “We will support the cancer program at GCMH with clinical trials and research, especially when patients present with aggressive or rarer forms of Cancer,” added Hannah Hazard, MD FACS, Director of Clinical Services and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University School of Medicine.
Design plans for the new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center have been completed with construction slated to begin in July of 2015. Projected opening for the new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center at Garrett County Memorial Hospital is planned for January 2016. As Chair of the hospital Board of Governors and Mayor of the Town of Oakland, Peggy Jamison states, “The opening of this center is one of the most important recent developments of the hospital. We are thrilled to be able to bring these services to our community with such a respected partner as WVUH.”