Caring for cancer is, unfortunately, a reliable business. Here in Westchester, where there is an aging population, the number of new cancer patients is bound to grow—as is the number of cancer survivors in need of long-term oncology services. For White Plains Hospital, this growing demand for cancer treatment has been the driving force for building up its cancer program, which has been a key factor in the hospital’s quest to transform itself from a community hospital into a tertiary hub for advanced services. (Another part of its transformation plan was to affiliate with a larger health system; within the next few weeks, all the paperwork will be done for White Plains Hospital’s new alliance with Montefiore Health System.)
Starting in 2011, the hospital aggressively grew its cancer program by, among other things, recruiting some 20 surgeons and oncologists from Mount Sinai, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and other leading institutions; creating a clinical trials program; opening off-campus mammography centers to funnel more cases to the program; and renovating its infusion center, providing communal infusion treatment areas, free breakfast and lunch, as well as iPads to use during treatment.
The result? From 2012 to 2013, the number of cancer patients treated at White Plains Hospital rose by around 15 percent, from 1,343 in 2012 to 1,548 in 2013. In addition, the number of patients who had been diagnosed with cancer elsewhere but chose to be treated at White Plains Hospital rose from 280 in 2012 to 383 in 2013.
Today, the cancer program has outgrown its space, so the hospital is in the midst of expansion. On December 17, the hospital marked a construction milestone by signing the final beam of a new six-story building rising next to its existing Dickstein Cancer Treatment Center. When it opens in fall 2015, the addition will double the space available for the cancer program to 70,000 square feet.
White Plains Hospital President Susan Fox (who is one of 914INC’s 2014 Women in Business honorees) calls the hospital’s strategy to build up the cancer program “highly successful.”
“This expansion is an important step that will enable us to continue to build on the advanced cancer services that we provide,” she says. “It will allow us to accommodate greater numbers of patients, staff and physicians in a modern space with state-of-the-art technology, complementary services and amenities in the years ahead.”