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United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia plans addition of cancer treatment center

BATAVIA – Pending approval by the city’s Planning & Development Committee, a proposed $6.5 million, 9,850-square-foot cancer treatment center will continue the renaissance of United Memorial Medical Center in the hub of Genesee County.

The single-story cancer facility, expected to open in January 2016, will rise on what is now a parking lot next to the Summit Street entrance. The site plan has been endorsed by the Genesee County Planning Board.

“This is a direct result of our collaboration with Rochester Regional Health System, which identified the need for radiation oncology in Genesee County,” said Daniel P. Ireland, medical center president. “We received New York State approval for the linear accelerator based on RRHS joining in and agreeing to move one of its licenses to help balance treatment across the region.”

The medical center will be purchasing new equipment to provide comprehensive cancer services, including access to Rochester physicians, said Ireland, who was named president in November 2013. Infusion services, set up in cooperation with the Rochester health service several years ago, also will be moved to the addition.

The hospital’s proposal is on the agenda of the planning committee meeting at 6 p.m. March 3 in the City Hall Council Chambers.

The cancer center, which is expected to create 10 jobs, is the latest enhancement over the past decade to the 131-bed medical center – which took its name following a 2002 merger with St. Jerome Hospital.

“We were floundering after the merger,” said Ireland, noting that the hospital was more than $300,000 in debt at that time. “But when (former CEO) Mark Schoell came on board, the world got better. He arrived with a vision and helped us make investments. We went to a profit of $400,000 after his first year.”

Part of that vision included contracting with Rochester General Hospital to share laboratory services, which set the stage for its current relationship with the Rochester health system.

In 2011, the medical center underwent a $20 million renovation that included improved and expanded operating rooms, a new physical therapy building near Genesee Community College and expanded services in urology and surgery.

The maternity unit was modernized in two phases in 2009 and 2012. Joint replacement, stroke and wound care centers were started. And intensive care tele-medicine – where doctors from Rochester General “meet” with patients on a daily basis via video conference – was introduced.

“It has been amazing to see,” said Betty P. Lapp, a registered nurse who is chair of the medical center’s board of directors. “You have the hospitalist and primary-care physician on one end and the intensivist on the other end, and via the computer they are able to see each other and talk to each other.”

The medical center has expanded its reach with a county-wide network that includes urgent care sites, physician offices, diagnostic centers, wellness center, occupational medicine and physical therapy services.

The hospital earned $3 million last year, with revenue totaling $86 million and $4 million in annual capital investments, said Ireland, who added that the merger with the Rochester health system has enabled the medical center to “pay competitive salaries and keep quality staff,” which numbers 775 employees plus 175 credentialed medical personnel.