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New Richmond WI Cancer Center gives Wisconsin patients a choice

The Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin1 / 2
Submitted photo A linear accelerator (LINAC) is a machine that generates energy for external beam radiation treatments for cancer. Lines of accelerated x-ray radiation are shaped to target a tumor or surgery site, limiting radiation exposure to healthy tissue while killing cancer cells.2 / 2

NEW RICHMOND -- The Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin has many milestones to celebrate at its first anniversary.

The New Richmond facility, a collaboration of six community-based Critical Access Hospitals, recently saw its 100th radiation therapy patient. It treats about 18 radiology patients a day, nearly double the initial goal of 10, said Center Director Bobbie Jo Heinsch.

There have also been increases in medical oncology patients seen, overall.

The oncology care program serves as a model of the benefits of a cooperative approach to healthcare - improving access, care and coordination of services for area residents.

The Center's state-of-the art radiation therapy equipment would have been cost prohibitive for any one of the regional hospitals to install on its own, but by pooling resources, we can provide personalized care closer to home, said Pat Cooksey, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Hudson Hospital & Clinics.

Previously, cancer patients in western Wisconsin were forced to travel to Maplewood, St. Paul or Minneapolis for ongoing treatment. For example, a former patient drove 90 minutes round-trip for 10-minute appointments that spanned five-days-a-week for six weeks.

In addition to HealthPartners' Hudson and Westfields hospitals, collaborators in the Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin include the Amery Regional Medical Center, Baldwin Area Medical Center, Osceola Medical Center and St. Croix Regional Medical Center.

All provide medical oncology staffed by HealthPartners physicians - bringing increased access, as well as a consistent process and level of care. Patients can enter the system at any point, and also be referred between locations for second opinions and follow-up care.

In addition to medical oncology and hematology consults, each of the individual sites also has full chemotherapy services as well as lab services, and imaging services such as CT and mammography. Other supportive care services include massage therapy, physical therapy, social work, cancer support groups and nutrition consults.

The Cancer Center has also participated in a number of community-wide events, educating residents on prevention, treatment and clinical care.

In the future, it will continue efforts to build regional brand awareness, as well as undertaking clinical research and standardizing patient support materials, Heinsch said.