New Northwest Wisconsin Cancer Center to provide enhanced care to Ashland region

Memorial Medical Center and Essentia Health announce plans to build a new, state-of-the-art, $12 million Cancer Center in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Essentia Health has been providing cancer care services on the Memorial Medical Center (MMC) campus since 2002.  For the past several years, the two healthcare organizations have been in ongoing discussions about how they could collaborate to bring expanded cancer care services to residents of Ashland and the surrounding area.

“We have done extensive research, and the need for additional services, especially radiation oncology, is significant,” says Jason Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of MMC.  “We’ve talked with local physicians and everyone agrees that this investment will greatly benefit cancer patients from our region who will no longer have to drive hundreds of miles to get the services they need.”

Mike Metcalf, Executive Vice President Clinic Operations for Essentia Health says the new Cancer Center will offer many of the same services provided at Essentia’s Cancer Center in Duluth including infusion therapy, radiation therapy, and clinical trials as well as the STAR Cancer Rehabilitation Program, a survivorship program and educational resource center.

The new facility, which will be named Northwest Wisconsin Cancer Center (NWCC), will be housed in a brand new building that will be located adjacent to MMC and Essentia Health-Ashland Clinic.

Dr. Mihailo Lalich, who moved to the region last year and has been providing cancer care in Ashland, Hayward and Spooner, will serve as Medical Director.  Other medical staff will include Peter Kebbekus, MD, and Hillary Lambert, NP, who currently travel to Ashland from Duluth one day per week, as well as a team of radiation oncologists from Duluth who will provide full-time coverage in the new cancer center.

According to Douglas, he anticipates the creation of new positions including support staff and nurses.  “Bringing new services and new jobs to our medical campus and community is a win-win,” says Douglas.

Boldt Construction has been chosen as contractor for the project with Kahler Slater serving as architect.  “This is a highly specialized project because the building will house linear accelerators, but we hope to take full advantage of our local workforce,” says Douglas.  “We plan to break ground in March, and if all goes as planned, the Northwest Wisconsin Cancer Center will open in August of 2015.”

“This is truly a collaborative effort,” says Metcalf who stresses that the project is all about delivering value to patients.  “By working together, Memorial Medical Center and Essentia Health can provide better service and higher quality care to cancer patients at a reduced cost.  And, best of all, we will do it close to home for our patients.”