The most important step to opening a cancer center, per 2 CEOs

Hospitals and systems across the country are opening and expanding their oncology services, and many more are working to add, consolidate or expand their cancer services to meet demand.

Since the beginning of 2023, more than 38 hospitals have opened or expanded their oncology services. Toms River, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health and Paterson, N.J.-based St. Joseph's Health recently opened their second of three cancer centers in New Jersey after a five-year planning process.

"We knew we had to get stronger in cancer care five years ago," Kevin Slavin, president and CEO of St. Joseph's Health, told Becker's on May 25. "So we selected the right partner." 

Robert Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, agreed that starting with the right partner is an important step to opening a cancer center. 

"That would be my best advice," Mr. Garrett told Becker's. "When you partner with a like-minded organization, you can really provide even better care, you can provide more technology and you can design a center based on the learnings of both organizations."

That is exactly what St. Joseph's and Hackensack Meridian did. Not only did they partner to build three cancer centers, but they collaborated with regional systems such as New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering, Washington, D.C-based Georgetown University and Columbia, Md.-based MedStar Health, Mr. Garrett said.

"[Those partnerships] mean we're focused on research and finding cures for new cancers. That wouldn't have happened without partnerships. So my best advice to other organizations that are thinking about providing cancer services: Wherever possible, partner. Bring the best of what each organization offers to the table, and I think the winners will be the patients."

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