McCook Hospital Receives Grant for Equipment Important to New Radiation Oncology Center

Trista Kontz-Bartels (center), Program Officer for the Rural Healthcare Program presents The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to (from left) Jim O'Dea, Jim Ulrich, Terri Shipshock, Corey Brockway.

CommunityHospital in McCook has been awarded a grant totaling almost $3 Million from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The grant was given to help purchase a new linear accelerator for the Radiation Oncology Center project.

The hospital's president and CEO Jim Ulrich thanked the trust for the grant, saying it will help achieve the hospital's vision of enhancing access to oncology services in the region.

Ulrich said, "Thisis a tremendous gift and will be a huge benefit to our RadiationOncology Centerproject. By providing radiation oncology and cancer services right here in McCook weare taking giant strides toward our hospital's vision, ‘To lead the region as ahealthcare team by exceeding patient expectations through the advancement ofquality healthcare services.'"

The hospital has plans to begin construction on a new Radiation Oncology Center this spring. The center will allow cancer patients to receive radiation treatments in McCook instead of traveling to a larger hospital that offers this service.

"This enhancement to access of radiationoncology services will have a tremendously positive impact for patients in ourregion," said Ulrich. "With an average of 325 new cancer cases diagnosed in ourregion annually, adding this service allows us to provide comprehensive cancercare which is so very important to our patients."

According to Community Hospital, radiation therapy requires daily treatments for up to seven weeks. Patients currently undergoing this treatment must travel a minimum of 70 miles one way to receive their treatments.

"We haveknown for many years the ability to provide radiation oncology in McCook willsave our patients hours of travel and allow them the convenience and comfort ofstaying nearer their home," Ulrich said. He added that the hospital considers this an essential service because of the areas high population of elderly and incidents of specific cancer rates that rank above the national average.

The RadiationOncology Centerwill include a reception and waiting room, two large exam rooms,offices for staff, a control room and a large vault to contain the linearaccelerator.

The total project is estimated atapproximately $6 million. CommunityHospital HealthFoundation is raising funds for the project through the Campaign for CancerCare.