Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) will further enhance its ability to offer top cancer care to even more patients with the establishment of a freestanding, state-of-the-art outpatient treatment center in Bergen County, New Jersey. Residents from communities across northern New Jersey and southern New York State will have easier access to MSK’s unique expertise when MSK Bergen becomes fully operational in winter 2017.
At a symbolic ribbon cutting ceremony today, leaders from MSK and Montvale, including Mayor Michael Ghassali, gathered to formally welcome MSK and to view the modular spaces already onsite offering some outpatient radiology care to current MSK patients.
Once complete, the 109,000-plus-square-foot outpatient center, located only minutes from the Garden State Parkway at exit 172 and a short distance from the New York State border, will house all the latest technology and modern healthcare design elements that patients expect from one of the nation’s top cancer centers. The center will also offer:
- a robust clinical program including medical, radiation, and surgical oncology consultations and treatments, as well as specialized programs such as genetic counseling, pain management, lymphedema therapy, social work, and nutrition counseling
- access to hundreds of MSK clinical trials
- advanced radiation therapy technologies, such as accelerators and CT simulators, all supported by MSK radiation oncologists, therapists, physicists, and dosimetrists who are highly experienced in treatment planning
- Care provided by MSK doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. MSK Bergen medical teams will be fully integrated into the center’s Disease Management Teams. Patients will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of multiple experts from different disciplines who meet weekly to discuss patient cases, from the more commonly diagnosed cancers to those that are rare and require the unique expertise offered by MSK.
“As a leader in cancer research and treatment, we’re acutely aware of the growing need to reach patients in surrounding communities, to offer more pioneering clinical trials and treatments that are not available elsewhere and to provide care closer to where patients live that is exactly the same as they would receive if they were treated at any other MSK location — including Manhattan,” said Physician-in-Chief José Baselga, MD, PhD. “Our new site in Bergen County will help meet this need, giving patients a great option for their cancer care.”
Ever-Increasing Demand for Oncology Services
More than 700 Bergen County residents sought treatment at MSK in 2015, with many traveling to MSK’s Manhattan facilities for care. When MSK Bergen opens with full services later next year, it should reduce —and in some cases eliminate — the need for many patients who live in northern New Jersey and Orange and Rockland counties in New York to travel by allowing them to receive all or a portion of their care closer to home.
Current estimated projections for the new Bergen County location include 8,000-plus clinical visits, more than 4,200 radiation therapy treatments, and almost 4,700 chemotherapy treatments in the first half year of operation. In 2018, these numbers are expected to double.
Approximately 120 employees will work at the new location, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, and other healthcare professionals as well as administrative support teams. Like other MSK outpatient locations in New York and New Jersey, MSK Bergen will be staffed by doctors and nurses who are local area residents, creating and expanding strong ties to the community.
“We are very happy to be the host town to a world-class cancer treatment organization,” said Mayor Ghassali. “MSK’s presence in Montvale will ease the burden of travel for so many. The council and I look forward to working with MSK and building a strong community partnership.”
Comprehensive Oncology Care and Patient Amenities
MSK Bergen will also house other important technologies and programs such as mammography, ultrasound, MRI, CT, and PET imaging. For patients who experience treatment side effects such as pain or problems with coordination and/or balance, a gym with specialized equipment, staffed by specially trained physical and occupational therapists, is also being planned. These elements, which are unique to larger centers like MSK, can be of great benefit for patients.
“Our vision is nothing less than to revolutionize the treatment of cancer — and part of that vision embraces the idea of bringing all the newest and most successful therapies to as many patients as possible,” said Richard Barakat, MD, FACS, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for the Regional Care Network and the MSK Cancer Alliance. “Our patients not only will have access to personalized cancer care from the most forward-thinking teams at MSK Bergen, but also will experience this in an environment built with their comfort and well-being in mind.”
In order to house the most modern and effective technologies and patient amenities, the Summit Avenue property is undergoing significant renovations. Much of the internal areas are being demolished and reconfigured for patient care, and the outdoor spaces are being carefully integrated into planning processes. MSK Bergen will embrace the surrounding landscape to feature outdoor areas designed with a park-like feel for patients and their caregivers to use during their visits. The center will also feature a pharmacy for MSK patients, a café for quick and easy meal selections, and plenty of parking.
Easing Care Before and After Surgery
“Our outpatient locations are extremely important for many reasons. One of those is that they offer a convenient point of access to MSK quality of care,” said Margaret Burke, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Hospital Operations.
As an example, patients will be able to have all of their pre- and post-surgical visits conveniently close to home.
“We want our patients to receive outstanding care for their cancer while experiencing the benefits of remaining closer to home and work for as much of their treatment journey as possible,” she added. “If we can decrease their time spent traveling, patients will be able to spend more time with their families in the comfort of their own homes. This is extremely important in the healing process.”
“We are excited to open this remarkable facility,” said Dr. Baselga. “Bringing MSK closer to where our patients live and work and providing the highest level of care is central to our mission. We also look forward to building strong and long-lasting relationships with our neighbors in Montvale and in the surrounding community, including residents, local organizations, and other community-based programs.”