Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Southfield, Mich., turned a potential competitor into an ally through a partnership in a new $16 million cancer center at Providence Park in Novi, Mich.
Robert Casalou, Providence's interim chief executive officer, said the system was convinced that the University of Michigan Health System would build a stand-alone cancer center in Detroit's western suburbs if both sides failed to work a deal together. Because of that, Providence entered a partnership to split the cost of the cancer center.
At the same time, Providence strengthened an existing cancer-treatment relationship with UMHS, which began at Providence's Southfield campus 12 years ago, Casalou said. UMHS physicians provide radiation oncology services there.
"We prevented duplication," Casalou said of the new center, formally called the Michael and Rose Assarian Cancer Center.
UMHS had no concrete plans for a satellite cancer center in the western suburbs, said Marc Halman, administrative director of the UM Cancer Center in Ann Arbor. But the system is happy to be partners in Novi nonetheless, he said.
The 33,500-square-foot center is in a fast-growing section of the region, providing convenience for patients, who can get up to 90 percent of all treatment in a community setting, Halman said.
What's more, the center is expected to provide a base of referral patients to the larger UM Cancer Center in Ann Arbor for the most complicated cases, such as those involving bone-marrow transplants, he said.
The community-based center also offers another training opportunity for medical interns and residents associated with UMHS, Halman said.
The system is the area's fifth-largest, with 1998 revenues of $949.6 million.
The Assarian cancer center, on Providence's Novi outpatient campus, was designed to promote clinical and spiritual healing, Casalou said.
Near the main entrance is an atrium with rock and steel sculptures symbolizing the physical devastation caused by cancer and the road to facing the reality of the disease. A library and art studio flank the atrium, providing patients and their families with an educational tool and a creative outlet for dealing with cancer, Casalou said.
The center uses the latest technology for diagnosing and treating cancer in a comfortable community setting, he said.
It complements Providence's Southfield cancer center and adds much-needed capacity for the growing volume of patients the system treats, Casalou said.
Providence is at full capacity for cancer treatment in Southfield, in part because of new demand created by the recent closure of nearby Sinai Hospital in Detroit, he said. Providence, the area's eighth-largest healthcare system, diagnoses about 1,000 new cancer patients every year, Casalou said. Its 1998 revenues were $359.6 million.
The Assarian cancer center follows a trend among community hospital systems of enhancing cancer services and consolidating operations in a formal, easily identifiable center. For example, St. John Health System, Detroit, this year announced plans for a $24 million cancer center at its main campus on the east side of the city.