Jamaica Hospital celebrates the grand opening of their new cancer center

From Left to Right: Robert Levine, EVP and COO Flushing Hospital Medical Center; Shelly Anderson, Hospital President Memorial Sloan Kettering; Dr. Sabiha Raoof, CMO and Chair of Radiology MediSys Health Network; Congressman Gregory Meeks; Bruce J. Flanz, President and CEO MediSys Health Network; Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; William Lynch, EVP and COO Jamaica Hospital; Robert DeSalvio, President of Genting America’s East; Mounir Doss, EVP and Chief Financial Officer MediSys Healthcare Network.
Photo by Athena Dawson

The Jamaica Hospital Medical Center (JHMC) celebrated the grand opening of its latest addition, the MediSys Health Network Cancer Center, on Monday, Apr. 8.

The ceremony was attended by dozens of guests, including hospital administrators from JHMC, representatives from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and local government leaders, for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the new facility.

The grand opening comes about a year after the network first announced their partnership with MSKCC to expand cancer care access in Queens. 

For JHMC’s hospital administrators, the creation of a cancer center has been years in the making. CEO of JHMC, Bruce Flanz, spoke about the impact of the center on the local community.

“This is a day we have been looking forward to for quite some time,” he said. “Many people in our surrounding area would need to leave the borough in order to receive their care, but I’m also reminded that many of them don’t leave the borough because they don’t want to leave where they live to access those services, and delay getting that very essential care.  Being able to provide those critically needed services right here in Queens is going to be a tremendous advantage” Flanz added.

 JHMC CEO Bruce Flanz shares his excitement about the grand opening of the new cancer center. Courtesy of Athena Dawson

Flanz said that the partnership with MSKCC has allowed JHMC to provide their patients with multiple screening programs and clinical trials. Additionally, patients of the cancer center will be able to receive expedited referrals to MSKCC for any treatments that aren’t provided at the  JHMC cancer center. 

The cancer center features 24 multipurpose private rooms, designed for a comfortable patient experience. Patients will have access to multiple on-site supportive services including mental health and nutritional resources, while they receive cancer treatment or palliative care. 

Sabiha Raoof, JHMCs chief medical officer, said her own experience navigating her breast cancer diagnosis amplified her feelings on the importance of the new cancer center. “Cancer  affects everyone, but there are significant cancer disparities that exist in populations like hours because of the health related social needs that we have. We see disparities in screening, treatment and mortality. I myself am a breast cancer survivor, even as a physician it was hard for me to navigate my care.” she said.

According to Flanz, JHMCs long term plan is to  transform their south campus D building into  a comprehensive cancer center  within the next few years.“ The ultimate goal is to transform the D building. It will have infusion therapy, radiation therapy, surgical options, as well  as all the exam space into a real state of the art facility, he said.” Flanz estimates the cost of the project will be $170 million.

During the ceremony, Flanz thanked U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-5)  and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards for their support and funding towards opening the cancer center. 

In March, Richards granted $5 million in funding for a state-of-the-art cancer device that will be used in the new cancer center. 

“Gone are the days where someone from Queens will have to leave their community and go all the way to Manhattan for care, ” Richards said in a brief speech. 

Rep. Gregory Meeks addresses the crowd at JHMC’s new cancer center grand opening. Courtesy of Athena Dawson

Meeks echoed Richards’ views, saying “Each year there are thousands of Queens residents that are diagnosed with cancer. Access to cancer care remains a critical concern and as the current healthcare infrastructure falls short on meeting the demands for cancer care services, the enhanced cancer care program at JHMC will help bridge this gap.”

Hospital administrators say the cancer center will start receiving patients within the next few weeks.