Friday, December 28, 2007

Regional Cancer Center Proposed

I guess great minds think alike. This is the first I've heard of plans to build a regional center for cancer treatments up here, but I've been thinking along the same lines. My idea was probably a bit less ambitious construction- wise but a bit more ambitious treatment- wise.

I think the idea of building an entirely new facility, at least to start off, is a bit much. I have no doubt that there is a need for more space. I know the waiting room(s) at Eureka Internal Medicine have often been standing room only when I've been there. I have no doubt the radiology lab at St. Joe's is just as packed.

But why spend millions on a new building that might not do anything not already being done up here? Couldn't some existing space be utilized?

Word is that some, if not a lot, of the offices at the St. Joseph's Annex at the old General Hospital will move to St. Joseph's once the renovation at St. Joseph's Hospital is done.

Capdiamont, mentioned over at his blog a while back that nearly all of the business done now at the General Hospital annex will be moved to St. Joseph's Hospital. According to the [rumor] he heard, some are talking of putting a Safeway where General Hospital is now. [ Bloggers note: NOT!]

But if there's any truth to these rumors of everything moving to St. Joe's proper, why can't the old General Hospital be used for a cancer center. If not there, certainly there must be some other places available.

My dream was actually to find space at St. Joe's before or after the renovation. I guess I was out in left field with that one, since everybody else seems to be in front of me in line.

But, wherever it goes or how it's done, it will be good to see a regional cancer center happen.
I think I might be being more ambitious than the rest in what I was thinking of:

My idea, at least for treatments , was more grandiose. I was thinking of not just consolidating all current cancer services in on location, but expand the services available- my main motivation being to try and have treatments done up here where patients currently have to leave the county.

I was thinking, if you could add services like that, we might be able to get patients from other areas of the state to come here rather than UCSF or Stanford for such treatments. I know I've seen people from up near Redding at UCSF. Whether they'd prefer to come here for treatments (and whether medical protocols would allow it), I don't know.

But a drive over 299 might beat going all the way to UCSF.
I would think, if I was from Redding, I'd rather come to Eureka for a monthly check up than drive all the way to San Francisco. I guess there's no way of knowing who'd do what without trying it.

The biggest problem would be communication with the other facilities down south where we'd have to go for expertise. I've already seen some problems with communication in that regard. Telemedicine can only go so far.

I was thinking about the only way to really make that work is some kind of merging between our facility up here and, for example, UCSF Oncology- perhaps even to the point where we make our facility a branch campus of UCSF.

That may sound like a long shot. It probably is. Besides, a merging between St. Joseph's Hospital and UCSF doesn't sound like something either side would go for.

Still, that would probably be what it will take to spread higher up expertise around the state- and give us our own regional cancer center- as opposed to the centralized system we have now . What we need to work away from is this centralized system where people all have to travel to the center of the state to get their medical needs taken care of.

Whether those behind this current proposal have that in mind remains to be seen.


At 8:32 PM, Blogger Rose said...

It's a great idea, Fred.

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you know, doctors won't come here without a deep water port.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

Fred, keep a look out for our Heartlands project which includes proposal for establishing a Native American health center, either in conjunction with United Indian Health or independent. The idea is to use tribal sovereignty and tribal gaming to get funding for a Native American hospital that also serves the whole community. As a cancer survivor who has made the trips to UCSF Medical Center a number of times, I can relate to the need for something closer to home. Now imagine getting alternative medicines here that are being blocked by FDA regs--e.g. the newer prostate cancer treatments using focused sound beams, something I couldn't afford but is a process now undergoing FDA approval.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger lodgepole said...

It seems like a great idea considering we have just a ton of cancer up here. I wonder if the rates will decline a bit now that we only have one pulp mill.


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