New cancer center coming to Kearney

New cancer center coming to Kearney
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 1:35 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 6:47 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Kearney Regional Medical Center (KRMC) is joining forces with Cancer Partners of Nebraska (CPN) to provide outpatient cancer services in a new cancer center in Kearney.

The 25,000-square-foot center will be located between KRMC and Yanney Heritage Park and will include:

  • Radiation and medical oncology
  • Infusion and chemotherapy services
  • State-of-the-art linear accelerator
  • National oncology clinical trial access
  • Onsite CT and PET diagnostic imaging

“This is an exciting day for all involved and has been many years in the making,” KRMC CEO Bill Calhoun said.

“We have known there is a need for increased oncology services in our community since 2018. And just as we’ve done in other areas such as maternity and emergency/trauma services, we are able to respond to consumer needs if and when the right timing, place and partner are in place. Today we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve found the right partner in CPN,” Calhoun said.

CPN is the first and only community oncology practice in Nebraska to become a MD Anderson affiliate institution with the NCI clinical trials network, and a chosen provider of comprehensive cancer care in Lincoln and eleven greater Nebraska communities.

In October of 2020, CPN announced a partnership with Bryan Medical Center to build a $45 million, 140,000 square foot comprehensive community cancer center in South Lincoln.

“Having recently joined the Bryan Health system ourselves in 2022,” Calhoun said. “We’ve watched the April Sampson Cancer Center project take shape with Bryan Medical Center and CPN. This model truly embodies our core values: trust in local management and improved access to the highest quality care.”

As like-minded health care organizations, CPN and KRMC are committed to bringing greater benefit to the communities they serve, including underserved and vulnerable populations.

“Often we find that patients in Greater Nebraska are seeking medical, radiation and surgical oncologists in different locations without centrally coordinated plans for ongoing care,” Justin Rousek, Executive Director, CPN said. “By opening this Kearney-based cancer center, we can decrease travel time for patients in Central and Western Nebraska, and allow them more time to focus on treatment and recovery close to home.”

One of the providers, Dr. Steven Dunder shared how he grew up in the Panhandle and witnessed family members and neighbors who had to travel to bigger cities like Rapid City, Cheyenne or Denver to get care. He said he saw the toll it took on them to travel, expenses and even having visitors.

It’s something that he keeps in mind years later.

“Cancer care should be local and of the highest quality,” Dr. Dunder said. “We’re going to accomplish that with this endeavor.”

He said it’s important because oncology care has become exceptionally complex and partnering with a health care system is vitally important.

Dr. Dunder shared an example of what could happen for a patient who presents with a cough and eventually gets diagnosed with lung cancer. He said the patient ends up going to different places and has to navigate the system and sometimes there’s delays in patient care or things could get missed.

He said there’s a need to integrate into one system and ideally all under one roof to benefit the patient.

Dr. Dunder said he envisions that it’s more than a beautiful building, it’s where the best care for the patient is going to happen.

“It’s going to be a regional hub that central Nebraska will really be proud of,” he said.

The building project cost is estimated at or below $15 million but they don’t have the detail on total cost yet. KRMC says they will also need to add some high price pieces of equipment into the facility.

Construction for the project is set to begin in late 2023, with an anticipated go-live in 2025.