Officials from Greenwich Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital's Smilow Cancer Hospital on Tuesday celebrated the opening of the new Smilow Cancer Hospital campus at Greenwich Hospital's Bendheim Cancer Center.
The opening of the new campus paves the way for further strengthening of the partnership between the two hospitals and will make a range of new treatments available to cancer patients. Now, specialists from the Yale Cancer Center will work collaboratively with oncologists from Greenwich Hospital to treat patients in the newly-renovated facility. In addition Yale Cancer Center will be bringing clinical trials to patients receiving care at the campus.
"Today's opening of the Greenwich Hospital Campus of Yale-New Haven's Smilow Cancer Center marks a milestone in our ongoing efforts to deliver high quality and safe healthcare to patients," said Frank Corvino, president and CEO of Greenwich Hospital, during the ceremony, which included a ribbon cutting. "This unique relationship with Smilow allows us to add another level of care to an already outstanding array of cancer resources at our hospital."
Greenwich Hospital already offers a range of cancer services, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, surgery, a dedicated breast center and support services. With the opening of the new campus, Yale Cancer Center will make available doctors specializing in brain, gynecologic, prostate and genitourinary, and head and neck cancers. Additional specialists will be added later this year, Corvino said.
Included in the $2.5 million renovation is a new reception area, a state of the art infusion area, an updated nourishment center and a more open floor plan. Rooms in the facility have been completely refurbished with new flat-panel TVs and accouterments that impart a generally more "homey" aesthetic.
"We also added onsite a pharmacist to fill prescriptions and answer questions from our patients," Corvino said, adding that the opening of the new campus "underscores our commitment to find innovative ways to enhance the exceptional care and service excellence that distinguishes Greenwich Hospital."
Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr., director of the Yale Cancer Center and physician-in-chief at the Smilow Cancer Center in New Haven, said the new campus "stands for five crucial principals: First, the very best doctors and nurses — we know that the doctors and nurses here in the Bendheim Cancer Center are the very best, and they are our partners… Second, personalized cancer therapy: We want patient care to be tailored the molecular defects within the cancer cell — and also to be tailored to meet the needs of the patient and their family."
"Third is research — the commitment to bring clinical trials to patients here in Greenwich is something that makes this relationship so absolutely crucial," Dr. Lynch added. "And fourth, the importance of delivering wonderful patient and family centered care — look at this beautiful facility and look at the ways patients and their families will be supported through their journey with cancer. I see a place which is warm and inviting and which will bring people together…"
The fifth principal, he said, "is bringing us closer to 'cancer free.'"
Dr. Dickerman Hollister, medical director of the Bendheim Cancer Center, said he was "excited to strengthen our relationship with the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale and to bring new treatments and new physicians and new opportunities to cancer patients in our community."
"Now I know I'm preaching to the choir here when I say that healthcare is changing — and many of us miss the small independent community hospital model that we had for decades," Dr. Dickerman said. "But healthcare is different today, more complicated, technology-driven, and financially challenging. So we're adapting to the changing times — and that is what this facility represents: To retain the best of our small community hospital, but at the same time adapt to today's medicine and plan for tomorrow's healthcare. In order to do that we need our Yale colleagues."
Dr. Dickerman said although the facility had only been in operation for three weeks, he had so far received nothing but positive comments from doctors, staff and patients.
"This center is already a hit and I know we are going to use it well in the years ahead," he said.
The cancer center moved to temporary offices on Valley Drive during construction — however when Hurricane Sandy struck in October it knocked out power to the Valley Drive facility, forcing the center to move again to the main hospital before moving back to the Lafayette Place facility.
Dickerman said despite the challenge of having to relocate three times, "we never missed a treatment, we never delayed a visit and we never lost a chart…"
"We know there are one or two naysayers out there about Greenwich and Yale and Northeast Medical Group and so on…," Dickerman said. "But we are here to show them the error of their ways… we're here to show them how this affiliation can benefit everyone. And we're not doing it by talking points, or Powerpoints, we're doing it in one of the finest ambulatory facilities available. This is the proof of this concept of affiliation. We've got community oncologists, we've got academic affiliations, we've got innovative treatments — you can't beat this."