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3 organizations partner on radiation oncology center in Southtowns

Three major Buffalo medical organizations started construction Friday on a project to build a radiation oncology center in the Southtowns.

The partnership, named the Roswell Park Care Network, consists of the cancer institute, as well as the Catholic Health hospital system and the Buffalo Medical Group.

The 5,000-square-foot facility, which is scheduled to open by early 2018, will be located on the medical group's Orchard Park campus at 3900 N. Buffalo Road.

"Our goal is to deliver and expand our care in a greater geographic area. We've been largely landlocked up to now in our downtown location, and we're trying a different approach," said Dr. Thomas Schwaab, chief of strategy, business development and outreach at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

He said the cancer center envisions the network embarking on similar projects in the future.

"We're looking for opportunities to broaden our reach," Schwaab said.

The organizations are supporting the $5 million cost of the new building based on their equity shares, he said. The staff will not be employees of the institute but will be overseen by cancer center physicians, he said.

There is a radiation oncology practice in West Seneca – Southtowns Radiation Oncology – but this is Roswell Park's first physical location in the Southtowns. Schwaab said the new site responds to demand from cancer center patients and physicians for a location south of the city.

Officials said the partnership reflects growing pressure on hospitals and physician practices to improve quality and control costs.

Buffalo Medical Group is one of the region's oldest and biggest multispecialty medical groups, with other major offices in Williamsville and the city. It offers medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion in Orchard Park but not radiation oncology. Roswell Park and the group currently partner in a few areas of cancer care.

“We have a strong relationship with Roswell Park and Catholic Health, so it made sense to combine our resources to offer our patients enhanced cancer care services, building on what we currently provide at our facility,” Dr. Irene Snow, medical director of the group, said in a prepared statement.

Catholic Health is a major regional provider of primary and specialty care and includes Mercy, Kenmore Mercy and Sisters hospitals. Roswell Park and Catholic Health currently work together, with a gynecologic-oncology physician and a breast cancer surgeon seeing patients at Sisters Hospital.

“For patients and their families, it’s always easier to receive care close to home. This new partnership will foster better care coordination while providing our patients with the highest quality cancer care in a more convenient location," Joe McDonald, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health, said in a written statement.

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