Health Central President Mark Marsh and Orlando Health officials presented the West Orange Healthcare District with a plaque that will be on display at the cancer center as a thank-you gift for their support.
The new, $28 million cancer center spans 30,000 square feet. (Courtesy Orlando Health)
West Orange Times & Observer
OCOEE This week marked a new beginning for cancer patients in the West Orange community — and for Orlando Health — as the organization welcomed them into its brand-new cancer center in Ocoee.
Doctors at the 30,000-square-foot Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center — Health Central Hospital saw their first patients on Monday, Aug. 27, introducing them to the $28 million, cutting-edge facility.
The new cancer center replaces its former location across the street from Health Central’s campus, and is nearly double the size. It was funded primarily by a $21 million grant from the West Orange Healthcare District and offers expanded chemotherapy and radiation treatment areas, medical oncology services, surgical oncology consultations, laboratory facilities and cancer support programs.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Aug. 24, Health Central president Mark Marsh reminisced on the last 14 months from groundbreaking to grand opening.
“Certainly none of this would be possible without the strong spirit of partnership and collaboration that runs through this community, and the team at the West Orange Healthcare District is a main driver of that sense of community that we feel here today,” Marsh said, addressing the district. “Your vision for a healthy community where residents live, work and play is the main stream behind this beautiful new cancer center.”
The cancer center is part of a $100-million expansion to bring necessary healthcare services to the West Orange community. This includes $75 million in funding from the healthcare district for the cancer center, a 100-bed skilled nursing facility under construction on Health Central’s campus, and a new freestanding emergency department and medical pavilion in Horizon West.
Additionally, the new cancer center is one of only six facilities in the country to treat cancer with MRI-guided radiotherapy using technology called MRIdian, which allows specialists to track and adjust a radiation beam to any subtle changes in the tumor and surrounding tissue during treatment.
“Together with the West Orange Healthcare District we are investing $100 million to improve and expand healthcare services for West Orange County residents,” said Bernadette Spong, CFO of Orlando Health.. “…The new (cancer center) will bring a number of our core cancer care services to patients right here. The convenience of having chemo or radiation treatments, follow-up appointments and the services of the cancer-support community right in our backyard is something we know our patients value.”
West Orange Healthcare District Board Chair Norma Sutton expressed the district’s delight in partnering with Orlando Health and other organizations in an effort to bolster the West Orange community into becoming “the healthiest community in the nation.”
“We are very pleased with our collaboration and partnership with Orlando Health’s Health Central and its success in bringing these incredible, sophisticated health services right here to our community,” Sutton said.
Dr. Mark Roh, president of Orlando Health’s UF Health Cancer Center, said that statistically more than 1,200 residents of West Orange will be diagnosed with cancer this year. He added that the original cancer center was opened across the street in 2012 but reached its expected five-year capacity in just two years.
“Since 2014 there’s been more than 21,000 clinic visits, and our teams of doctors and nurses have treated and administered more than 13,000 chemotherapy treatments and over 22,000 radiation treatments,” Roh said. “This new facility is greatly needed, and the best place for it is on this campus, in this community where our patients live and work. In fact, evidence proves that patients who receive their cancer care in their community have better results and outcomes.”