Health Care

Mercy Health Opens $4.2M Infusion Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With the opening of its new Infusion and Multi-Disciplinary Center at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, Mercy Health Youngstown is aiming to show people that quality health care can be found in the Mahoning Valley.

“Right now the instinct for a lot of people is, ‘I have cancer and I need to go to Cleveland,’ ” said Mark Murray, regional director of oncology services for Mercy Health Youngstown. “But that’s not the case anymore.Between the services that Dr. Francis and the medical oncology team offer, and our radiation oncology service, we have everything the patients need right here.”

A ribbon cutting was held Friday for the  $4.2-million center, which was approved last April and took one year to complete. The center follows the  National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines as any hospital does, whether you go to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or somewhere else, Murray said.

“This beautiful new space continues our investment to provide world-class cancer care close to home,” said Don Koenig, chief operating officer and president of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

The infusion center is 4,500 square feet and offers chemotherapy and oncology infusions with a full-service infusion pharmacy, allowing patients to get their medications and treatments quicker rather than waiting for medications to be mixed elsewhere in the hospital.

“Every aspect of this oncology infusion clinic was designed with the patient in mind and to provide the best quality care for our cancer patients,” said Dr. Jawad Francis, medical oncologist for Mercy Health Youngstown. “It was designed to reduce the wait time, improve the patient flow and provide a healing environment.”

A fast-track lab in the center for blood work, injections and short-duration therapies will reduce wait time for patients needing minimal therapy or lab work.

The multidisciplinary center is 1,500 square feet and provides clinical space for palliative medicines as well as a hepatobiliary and Youngstown’s firs- ever lung nodule center.

The lung-nodule clinic will partner with the hospital’s lung screening program, which is a designated Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence, that screens hundreds of patients each year through six sites across the Mahoning Valley.

“We are experiencing an uptick in liver and pancreatic disease in the Valley,” said Dr. Thomas Chirichella, hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon. “Having resources, surgical technologies and expertise right here at home allows us to serve our community in ways we have never been able to before.”

The new center is another step towards growing Mercy Health Youngstown’s multidisciplinary approach by allowing those needing chemotherapy and infusion to access nearly all points of care in one location. This helps patients to see a number of professionals in the same visit.

“We’re doing a one-stop shop,” said Francis. “We have the surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist all sitting in the same room reviewing patients’ cases to correlate a plan. And you have a plan by the time you leave the clinic.”

The Infusion and Multi-Disciplinary Care Center officially opens to its first patients Monday.

“This is part of our continuing commitment to our community,” said Donald Klein, president and CEO of Mercy Health Youngstown. “We’ll continue to reinvest in where health care is needed.”

Pictured: Dr. Jawad Francis, medical oncologist for Mercy Health Youngstown; Don Koenig, chief operating officer and president of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital; Donald Klein, president and CEO of Mercy Health Youngstown; and Mark Murray, regional director of oncology services for Mercy Health Youngstown.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.