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VIDEO: Liberty Regional Medical Center opens permanent oncology unit
new cancer center

Editor's note: Scroll down to watch a VIDEO.

Liberty Regional Medical Center held an open house at their newly expanded Oncology Unit at the Medical Center’s campus.

LRMC and the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion at St. Joseph’s/Candler had partnered to create a new oncology program to deliver the latest treatments to Liberty County cancer patients and opened the doors at their first location earlier this year on General Screven Way.

“We had to expand a medical oncology unit that we opened about seven months ago,” said Paul P. Hinchey - President & CEO St. Joseph’s Candler. “We started medical oncology in Hinesville in a strip mall just to stick our toe in the water.” Hinchey said they knew they would quickly outgrow their facility so they started working on their new location inside the Medical Center building at 455 South Main Street.

“And now we’ve doubled the office space here in this medical building so that the patients here can have more chairs and get chemo treatment close to home and not have to leave the area to get it,” Hinchey said.

Hinchey said the former location had seven chairs and the new office has 10 increasing treatment capacity by 30 percent.

“And the great part of it is it is next to all the referring doctors so the patient can come right over from seeing their primary care doctor and make an appointment to have chemo,” he added.

He said prior to the local oncology units, patients had to drive either to Savannah or as far as Jacksonville to receive proper treatment. He said having a chemo treatment facility so close to home will make the treatments, which could take up to eight hours, less stressful.

Hinchey said it will also benefit the hospital financially.

“Which is another big deal because we have to do something to keep these hospitals afloat,” he said.

The partnership was fueled by the commitment of the Liberty community who came together to raise more than $400,000 to bring in needed chemotherapy and medical oncology services. But it also fits perfectly with the Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion’s longstanding goal to bring the best cancer treatments to people where they live, according to a previous report.

Dr. Ajaz Bulbul, who is board certified in both oncology and hematology serves as the medical director. The program benefits from the expertise of the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), which the Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion has been a part of for more than six years.

The programs will work collaboratively with the medical staffs at both hospitals to build a robust cancer program for the future by using the expertise of local specialists at Liberty Regional and the experience of the programs and expertly trained team at the Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion. As previously reported in the Courier, physicians in Liberty will have opportunities to present cases for multi-disciplinary discussions with physicians in Savannah for individualized treatment plans. Dr. Bulbul and other Liberty Regional specialists as appropriate will be part of those teams for the benefit of his Liberty County patients.

Clinical Effectiveness Teams are comprised of physicians with related specialties and support personnel who meet regularly to review individual cases. St. Joseph's/Candler has multidisciplinary teams for the following areas:

• Breast Cancer

• Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer

• Genitourinary (GU) Cancer

• Gynecologic Oncology • Head and Neck Cancer • Neuro-Oncology

• Skin/Melanoma

• Thoracic (Lung) Cancer The new Infusion Services practice is at 455 South Main Street, Suite 202 in Hinesville.

This practice will house space for chemotherapy and infusion services, a clinic for Dr. Bulbul and an area for the highly- trained and experienced chemo pharmacists from the Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion to mix the chemo drugs.

“Liberty Regional has had the vision for an Oncology Program for some time now,” said Tammy Mims, CEO of Liberty Regional Medical Center. “It’s exciting to see this project coming to fruition which will allow us to better fulfill the needs of our community. Not only will we provide evidence- based cancer care right here at home, but have the benefits of clinical trials, the expertise of a Medical Oncologist and other significant resources readily available in this area.”

VIDEO: New cancer center in HInesville

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