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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    New UMC addition offers patients ‘extra option’

    New UMC addition offers patients extra option

    In accordance with University Medical Center’s long-term expansion plans, Arizona Hematology-Oncology in northwest Tucson has joined the UMC system.

    The acquisition serves as an outreach to Tucson residents, allowing patients quicker and easier access to oncology services, said Karen Mlawsky, vice president of oncology services for UMC.

    Prior to the new location, the only option for UMC patients seeking cancer services was the Arizona Cancer Center, 1515 N. Campbell Ave., whose location was troublesome for some patients.

    UMC Orange Grove, as the location will be called, gives these patients the extra option needed, said Donna Breckenridge, chief communications officer for the Arizona Cancer Center.

    “”As far as patient compassion and professional skills, I can say that the staff at Orange Grove is exemplary,”” Mlawsky said.

    While UMC Orange Grove, 1892 W. Orange Grove Road, will provide UMC services on a local level, the addition is in line with UMC’s recent push to expand its services both locally and statewide.

    The objective gained public attention in November when Keith A. Joiner, vice provost for medical affairs for the College of Medicine, stressed the importance of creating a link among medical programs in Arizona at the College of Medicine’s 40th anniversary.

    Such cooperation is needed not only to provide superior medical services. It is also an urgent necessity because of the lack of physicians in Arizona, Joiner said.

    While joining the UMC system, Arizona Hematology-Oncology retains its physicians, Dr. Suresh Katakkar and Dr. Mehrnoosh Zarkoob, as well as 30 other staff members.

    Much of the reason UMC decided to join forces with the oncology establishment lies with the success of the oncology center, a center that cares for 3,000 patients every year, Mlawsky said.

    By becoming UMC employees, the staff takes on a strong benefits package and is more able to continue its medical education, as UMC has a continuous education program that constantly serves its employees, she said.

    While the addition is reflective of UMC’s recent expansion philosophy, it is an early step in a plan to further enhance UMC North, 3838 N. Campbell Ave., said Katie Riley, UMC director of public affairs.

    UMC North’s progressive goal past this first step is to continue to develop and provide additional oncologists and cancer services to northwest Tucson.

    Future plans include utilizing the former location of Tucson General Hospital, as well as adding more radiology locations, Riley said.

    “”(UMC) will continue to build out UMC North and expand physically,”” she said.

    Aside from the financial benefits of the ongoing addition, the continuous expansion is a way for different medical institutions in the state to work together in the name of science and medicine, Joiner said.

    Sharing resources to assist patients takes primary concern over direct competition, as medical centers that cooperate are more able to evolve and develop with a state whose population is rapidly growing, he said.

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