WVU Cancer Institute Doubling In Size to Meet Needs in State
MORGANTOWN — The WVU Cancer Institute has undertaken a massive expansion effort to meet the demand for cancer services in West Virginia. The growth includes recruiting 38 new cancer specialists by 2020 and increasing space for patient care.
“Cancer outcomes in Monongalia County are excellent, but they are not as good elsewhere in the state,” said Dr. Richard Goldberg, director of the WVU Cancer Institute.
“We want to make the cancer experts available here in Morgantown available to a bigger population. We are anxious to provide the kind of expertise some people feel compelled to leave the state to find.”
Clinic visits have increased by 27 percent at the WVU Cancer Institute Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown compared to this time last year. Cancer Institute and WVU Medicine leadership saw the need for additional providers and space to keep up with the growing demand.
“The WVU Cancer Institute has been on the front lines of WVU Medicine’s mission to address the real health problems facing our state by making world-class care available to a largely rural state,” said Albert Wright, president and CEO of West Virginia University Health System. “It was clear that this is an investment in the health of our state that we needed to make.”
“The caliber of clinical care, outreach and research coming from the WVU Cancer Institute is not only a point of pride for this university but also a gift to the state,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean of West Virginia University Health Sciences.
“This expansion is a huge step forward in improving the health of West Virginians.”
The institute has launched a major recruitment campaign to double its physician force, hiring 38 new physicians in more than a dozen subspecialties over the next three years. In addition, the institute is bringing in more than 100 advanced practice providers, clinical pharmacists, nurses, medical assistants and other clinical staff to support the physicians.
The recruitment effort focuses on addressing the biggest cancer needs in the state — especially breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers — in addition to growing the institute’s more exclusive programs, such as intraocular melanoma, sarcoma, head and neck cancer, brain tumor and Mohs surgery.
In addition, the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center is repurposing existing space in its upper floors to add 44 exam rooms (a nearly 50-percent increase), seven infusion rooms and 40 physician offices, as well as space for support personnel. The renovations will add 32,000 square feet of patient care space and include incorporating multidisciplinary work rooms to encourage collaboration among care providers, modernizing the pharmacy, refreshing existing patient care areas and streamlining the registration and blood draw areas.
The design also incorporates several “green” features, such as maximizing natural light. The $13.2 million project is expected to be complete by late 2018.
When the new space is complete and fully staffed, as much as twice as many people will be able to seek cancer care in the state. Many patients will be able to receive most of their care closer to home at one of the institute’s growing number of regional centers.
This year, the institute forged a new relationship with the Davis Medical Center Cancer Care Center in Elkins, in addition to its existing centers in Morgantown, Martinsburg, Parkersburg, Oakland and Fairmont. Two more centers will open in the coming months.