May 21, 2010 Contact: Mary Jenkins
Public Relations Manager
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (573) 882-7299
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in Missouri, resulting in more than 12,000 deaths annually. Last year, physicians at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center diagnosed 1,100 new cancer cases — a 10 percent increase over the prior year.
Because of the compelling need to accommodate projected increases of cancer patients from all over the state, University of Missouri Health Care and University of Missouri leaders today (Friday, May 21) announced plans to issue $30 million in revenue bonds to finance construction of a new Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.
The action was approved today by the University of Missouri Board of Curators.
The new $52 million cancer center will be funded with $30 million in revenue bonds and operating revenues of $22 million from University of Missouri Health Care. Debt service on the revenue bonds will be paid from University of Missouri Health Care’s operating revenues.
The 100,000 square-foot facility will offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary cancer care on the first two floors of the planned patient care tower addition to University Hospital. The new patient care tower is planned for completion in 2013.
“Relocating Ellis Fischel to the University Hospital and University of Missouri campus will enable clinicians, as well as faculty and researchers at the MU School of Medicine, Sinclair School of Nursing and School of Health Professions, to closely collaborate on cancer research and the latest diagnostic, medical and surgical treatments,” said Harold A. Williamson Jr., M.D., health system vice chancellor.
“The current Ellis Fischel Cancer Center on Business Loop 70 was originally constructed in 1939 as the state’s first cancer hospital,” said Jim Ross, CEO of University of Missouri Health Care. “Several feasibility studies over the past few years have determined that the building is too old to be renovated efficiently.”
For the past several years, University of Missouri leaders and area legislators have sought partial funding of approximately $31 million for the project from the state.
“We are grateful to our local legislators for working hard in a bipartisan effort to try to secure state funding,” said Williamson. “At this point, we recognize that the state’s budget crisis makes it unlikely that state funding for Ellis Fischel will become available in time to prepare for projected increases in cancer patients. Because we believe there is a compelling need to care for Missourians with cancer, we have decided to issue bonds to help pay for the project.”
“This is great news for Missourians, because this expansion will increase the potential for improved patient outcomes through timely screening, diagnosis and treatments,” said University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton.
University of Missouri System President Gary D. Forsee emphasized the urgent need to replace the 70-year-old Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. “With interest rates and construction costs both at optimally low levels, the time to act is now,” Forsee said.
The planned state-of-the art comprehensive cancer care facility at University Hospital in Columbia will offer patients across the state improved access to the latest therapies. The new facility will include space for radiation oncology, expanded radiology and imaging capabilities, chemotherapy treatment, outpatient surgical procedure rooms and recovery areas, 36 examination rooms, a pharmacy, the Margaret Proctor Mulligan Breast Center, Cancer Screening Services, and a cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema center. There will also be a variety of cancer survivor and quality-of-life services, such as a resource center and family support services.
“The new cancer center will also help us recruit and retain physicians and scientists who are leaders in cancer care and research,” said Bill Caldwell, M.D., medical director of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and CRC Missouri Chair in Cancer Research at the MU School of Medicine.
“Today, with the projected growth and aging of our population, along with advancements in diagnosis and treatment, we know the number of people living with cancer will continue to increase each year,” he said. “The five-year survival rates for cancer have increased 50 percent to 63 percent during the last 25 years, which means more people are living with cancer who will need to be treated and monitored. A new area of research under way at Ellis Fischel, cancer survivorship, has the potential to directly and immediately help our citizens by addressing life-long chronic health problems of cancer survivors.”
Site demolition for the new patient care tower began last August, and underground utilities, foundation and basement work began in February. Structural work on the tower is slated to begin in the summer with completion estimated in 2013.
Partial funding of $31 million for Ellis Fischel was originally committed by the state as part of capital project funding in 2009. These funds were subsequently exhausted at the time the project was to move forward.
University of Missouri Health Care had originally committed $22 million to the project as part of the health system’s $280 master facilities plan.
The current Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, located on Business Loop 70, was originally constructed in 1939 as the state’s first cancer hospital. The hospital was transferred to the University of Missouri in 1990 and re-named the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. The statutory mandate for clinical care and research has been integrated into a campus-wide program of modern cancer research. MU physicians conduct more than 130 clinical drug trials annually and spearheaded national studies of tamoxifen, a breakthrough drug used to treat breast cancer. Ellis Fischel serves patients from every county in Missouri. Many patients who travel long distances for treatment at Ellis Fischel do so because they have limited resources and because Ellis Fischel remains a safety-net hospital, treating all Missourians regardless of their ability to pay.