By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(July 19, 2018) Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin held a grand opening celebration for the new John H. “Jack” Burbage, Jr. Regional Cancer Care Center on Wednesday, July 11.
The 18,000-square-foot center, which is the new home for radiation oncologist Dr. Manoj Jain, and medical oncology specialists Dr. Rabindra Paul and Dr. Roopa Gupta and their clinical teams, opened on schedule, Wednesday, June 27, after one year of construction. The project cost was $9 million, about $1 million under budget.
In addition to previously available medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion services and integrative therapies, the center includes radiation oncology; PET/CT imaging; laboratory services; community education and support facilities; and telemedicine technology that allow patients and their physicians to consult with other cancer care experts at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, preventing unnecessary travel for consultation and follow-up care for patients who may require more intensive cancer care services.
“Our expectations are that this is going to be the preferred place where people go for cancer care in our community and region,” Atlantic General Hospital President Michael Franklin said. “We’re equipped with the latest technology available for cancer care, and we have board-certified physicians that are trained at world-class facilities.
“We have top-notch physicians and we have the latest technology,” he continued. “We’re creating an environment where people who live in our community who are diagnosed with cancer can get the best care [right] here in our community.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday with John H. “Jack” Burbage in attendance, whom the building was named after, holding the ceremonial scissors.
“It is an honor, and I really am sincerely grateful and appreciative of it, but the cancer center is a group effort by everyone,” Burbage said. “No one person made that happen.
“The cancer center was something near and dear to me,” he continued. “My mother died when I was a young boy of breast cancer and it was really tough growing up because my dad worked all the time. If I could do something that would help prevent another child in our community from having to go through that it would be well worth it.”
Burbage has been an influential member of the hospital. He has been on the board of trustees for nine years and was chairman of the board for three.
“He’s been a leader in the community in a lot of ways,” Franklin said. “It’s been something he wanted to see in the community and he led the capital campaign to help fund the cancer center.”
Doctors are looking forward to utilizing the facility for the surrounding communities.
“This is a big step forward for the Eastern Shore,” Dr. Jain said. “We are employing as many resources as possible, to improve access to cancer care patients. In the past, a lot of people didn’t know that we were providing cancer care so close to their home.
“But now, there is a building dedicated to cancer care and our goal is to give people the same type of opportunities and the same type of cancer treatment that they would receive in a large academic care center right here on the Eastern Shore,” he continued.
Tours of the new facility were offered to visitors during the grand opening.
Additional construction plans are underway at the hospital, according to Franklin.
“Sometime next year we’re going to be initiating construction of the second floor of the hospital where we will complete remodeling the patient care area on [that floor],” he said. “Then we will be also working to expand our surgical services capabilities in the region.”
For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.