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Ground broken for new cancer center in NR

Representing each of the collaborating organizations are: John Tremble, CFO, St. Croix Regional Medical Center; Doug Olson, MD, Minneapolis Radiation Oncology P.A.; Alison Page, CEO Baldwin Area Medical Center; Marian Furlong, CEO Hudson Hospital & Clinics, Jean Needham, CEO Westfields Hospital; Jeff Meyer, CEO Osceola Medical Center; Mike Karuschak, CEO Amery Regional Medical Center; and Randy Hurley, MD, Oncologist, HealthPartners Medical Group.

With a ceremonial turn of the shovel, the project to construct the new Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin was underway after a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

Contractors actually started work at the site some days before, but the various dignitaries involved in the project needed to kick-off the work with a little fanfare.

Among the speakers at the gathering were Mike Karuschak, president of the hospital collaborative and president of Amery Regional Medical Center; Doug Olson, MD, Minneapolis Radiation Oncology; Randy Hurley, MD, HealthPartners Medical Group; Dick Rademaker, Baldwin Area Medical Center board member and cancer survivor; and Rev. Mark Peacock, St. Croix Valley Health Care Foundation Board of Directors president.

Other dignitaries attending were State Senator Sheila Harsdorf, State Representative John Murtha, State Representative Ann Hraychuck and New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne.

Six area hospitals are partnering to provide specialized cancer treatment services for patients in the western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota region.

The six hospitals are building the new cancer center adjacent to Westfields Hospital. The hospitals (Amery Regional Medical Center, Baldwin Area Medical Center, Hudson Hospital & Clinics, Osceola Medical Center, St. Croix Regional Medical Center and Westfields Hospital) have been negotiating for months to bring about the collaboration.

The new Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin will be staffed by specialists from Minneapolis Radiation Oncology P.A. and the HealthPartners Medical Group's medical oncology department. The team will also provide support at each of the six hospitals on a routine basis, providing coordinated cancer care prevention, treatment and supportive services.

The cancer center will be approximately 12,000 square feet and will include:

• Linear accelerator and treatment areas for radiation therapy.

• Patient exam, consult and procedure rooms.

• Private and semi-private infusion therapy rooms with scenic views.

• Space for cancer care education and support programs.

The state-of-the-art facility, which is expected to open in the spring of 2011, will allow patients to receive specialized outpatient cancer treatments, including radiation therapy, medical oncology and infusion therapy closer to home. Patients requiring specialized treatments will no longer need to travel into the Twin Cities up to five times a week for their care during a time when rest and comfort is needed.

Cost of construction of the new facility is estimated at $4.5 million. The six participating hospitals have formed a nonprofit organization that will solicit and receive charitable support for cancer care services, with a fundraising goal of $1.5 million.