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Cancer center debuts in Batavia with emphasis on local mission for Genesee County community

BATAVIA – The recent opening of the $6.5 million Lipson Cancer Institute at United Memorial Medical Center marks another step in the hospital’s mission of keeping residents of the Genesee region closer to home for their medical and surgical needs, President Daniel P. Ireland said.

“Our strategy is to provide local access for those who require highly specialized care,” Ireland said. “What we want to convey is, ‘Look at us; we’re connected, and we will get you to where you need to go.’ ”

The connection to which Ireland referred is the medical center’s affiliation with Rochester Regional Health System, or RRHS, an integrated network of five full-service, acute-care hospitals combining the resources of Rochester General Health System and Unity Health System.

United Memorial became part of RRHS just over a year ago.

Treatment provided at the 9,800-square-foot addition – which replaced a parking lot on the west side of the hospital – includes medical oncology, chemotherapy and other types of infusion, and radiation oncology.

Ireland said the “on-time and on-budget” construction would not have been possible without the input of RRHS personnel. “We couldn’t have done it at the pace or the efficiency without us being a part of Rochester Regional Health,” he said, noting that the cancer center opened Jan. 4 with a “flurry of activity.”

“The expertise that was provided to us was extremely important,” Ireland said, “and we were able to use a license from Clifton Springs for the linear accelerator for radiation oncology.”

Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic had acquired two licenses for the equipment, but needed just one, Ireland said. The other three facilities under the RRHS umbrella are Rochester General Hospital, Unity Health System and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital.

Ireland estimated that 250 radiation oncology patients were either leaving the area or going without treatment because they had to drive to either Buffalo or Rochester. “With many kinds of treatments, patients don’t want to drive 30 or 40 minutes afterwards – and this is one of them,” he said.

The president said that the cancer institute’s three staff oncologists are Drs. Shoukri M. Wisa, Gregory C. Connolly and Julia D. Smith and that its two staff radiation oncologists are Drs. Jeffrey C. Haynes and Meri B. Atanas. All can refer patients to surgical oncologists if necessary, he added.

United Memorial also has access to general surgeons, intensivists and telemedicine professionals through RRHS, Ireland said.

Hospital officials will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The entrance to the cancer institute is located off Summit Street, and parking is available across the street.

Ireland said this latest addition is part of a five-year plan to expand the medical center’s services to include the transfer of MRI equipment from a trailer into the hospital, upgrade of the intensive care unit, creation of a palliative care unit, implementation of a continuing education center for employees and startup of a first-floor primary care clinic at the Jerome Center on Bank Street.