REDMOND, OR -- St. Charles plans to build a new Cancer Center next to the Redmond hospital, expanding services beyond the current facility in Bend.
"About 40% of our patients have to travel rather long distances. And they would be better served closer to home if we had those services in Redmond," says Cancer Center Medical Director Dr. Linyee Chang. Currently the Redmond hospital offers limited cancer services, like infusion and chemotheraphy. But radiation and other treatments are only available in Bend, "When it is such a burden for some of our patients - they live alone, they don’t drive, they don’t have family support - they then sometimes choose to forgo that treatment to their detriment."
Despite ongoing financial struggles, St. Charles will spend $90 million on the project. Kayley Mendenhall says the funds come from bonds secured in the fall of 2020, "When interest rates were quite low, so it was a good time to borrow money, comparatively." She tells KBND News, "It is designated and must be used for capital construction-type projects. We cannot use it to fund operations."
It’ll be built at the corner of Canal Boulevard and Kingwood, next to the Redmond hospital. The health system is now working with architects to design the new facility, which is expected to open in 2025. Like many hospitals and health systems, St. Charles has struggled to maintain full staffing in recent years. Cancer Center Administrative Director Mari Shay believes it won't be difficult to hire for the new Redmond center. "I don’t think we’ll have any problem with our caregivers from Bend making that transition. And then the other piece is, this is actually going to serve us well as a recruiting mechanism, because we provide top-quality, high level, technical care here and we are a big draw for - obviously, all of Central Oregon - but we are becoming a destination site for cancer care, within Oregon itself and even some surrounding states."