Richard Barakat, MD, FACS, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for the Regional Care Network and MSK Cancer Alliance, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York
Steve Sugarman, MD, Chief of the Medical Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Commack, New York
The Commack, Long Island–based hospital of Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center was opened in 2002, providing personalized cancer care closer to home for individuals living on eastern Long Island. Now, more than 14 years later, MSK is reinforcing its commitment to the local community in the form of a 38,000-plus-square-foot addition complete with enhancements to both clinical programs and physical spaces. A dedication ceremony for the expanded site was held in October.
“Supporting our patients during this stressful time is our number-one priority, and one way we can help is by removing the burden of travel to some extent, while maintaining the high level of care patients come to expect from Memorial Sloan Kettering,” said Richard Barakat, MD, FACS, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for the Regional Care Network and MSK Cancer Alliance. “The dedication of this space means our teams of doctors, nurses, and other health-care providers can continue to deliver care that is personalized and patient-focused, compassionate, and efficient.”
MSK Commack now encompasses more than 91,000 square feet and is staffed by teams with expertise in caring for people with cancer. The facility offers some of the area’s most comprehensive cancer services and amenities in a single location, including more than 40 oncologists covering multiple disciplines such as medical and radiation oncology, radiology, interventional radiology, and surgery.
Strong and Steady Demand
Over the years, it became evident that the footprint at MSK Commack needed to expand to meet growing demands. “Not long after this building was constructed, we realized the demand for our services was far greater than anticipated — and it became evident that our ability to deliver care optimally was only limited by space,” said Steve Sugarman, MD, Chief of the Medical Oncology Service at MSK Commack.
In 2015, MSK Commack clinical teams accommodated more than 33,800 visits, more than 36,000 chemotherapy and radiation oncology treatments, and more than 33,000 radiology studies. Based on external trends, such as the anticipated number of new cancer cases in Suffolk County and the aging of the population, it was anticipated that by 2026 the site could easily be accommodating more than 72,000 clinical visits and 41,000 radiology studies alone.
Phase I Expansion
The new addition is part of a three-phase construction and renovation plan set for completion next year. Expanded programming for patients includes the new state-of-the-art interventional radiology suite, pain management services, and the new clinical laboratory.
The interventional radiology suite is fully staffed by specially trained interventional radiology physicians who perform procedures using image guidance.
Pain management is another distinct new service for patients. After visiting with pain management specialists, patients can obtain medicines from the new on-site pharmacy.
The expanded clinical laboratory is another addition, enabling patients to have their blood work and other tests performed on-site, with most being completed within a few hours or less.
“Our strong desire to provide our patients with outstanding care for their cancer while experiencing the benefits of remaining closer to home for as much as their treatment journey as possible is present in everything we do, every day,” said Dr. Sugarman.
The second phase of the renovation and building plan will bring dedicated space for the clinical trials program including lab areas for processing specimens, workspaces for research nurses and study assistants, and changes to the pharmacy to accommodate additional research medications.
Phase two plans also include the construction of a dedicated rehabilitation suite for lymphedema therapy and other rehabilitation services, a new breast imaging suite, and space for additional physician offices to support plans to increase the scope of surgical services at MSK Commack.
Dr. Barakat noted that MSK’s growth on Long Island will continue and in addition to the Commack site plans are underway to open a new facility in Uniondale, Long Island, in the fall of 2019. ■