There is no sugarcoating the impact a cancer diagnosis has on a patient.
“It hits them like a ton of bricks,” Dr. Nik Korgaonkar said.
Minutes after patients learn some of the most stunning news of their life, their care journey begins and can include scheduling an immediate follow-up appointment to coordinating care to financial counseling.
“It can be so overwhelming,” said Korgaonkar, a surgical oncologist with WellSpan.
To support the vision of each patient receiving personalized care tailored to their needs surrounded by expert care teams during difficult circumstances, Korgaonkar and his wife, Sonal, contributed $25,000 to the WellSpan York Cancer Center Capital Campaign. The campaign raised more than $5.7 million for a newly renovated facility that offers a full spectrum of state-of-the-art cancer treatment and supportive services under one roof.
Located in the Apple Hill Medical Center, the WellSpan York Cancer Center is set to open on July 19. It also will house the Wellness Center which offers holistic treatments including massage, meditation, spiritual care, palliative care and bra/wig fittings.
“I think of this as community taking care of community, and we wanted to support WellSpan’s vision of advancing cancer care locally. I feel that way at WellSpan more than I have at any other institution that I have ever been at,” said Korgaonkar, who specializes in thoracic surgery.
Making everything easier for the patient
The life-saving procedures Korgaonkar performs can ultimately decide the care outcome for his patients, but he also recognizes the challenges patients face before those potentially life-changing surgeries.
Finding a parking spot or knowing exactly where to go for an appointment is added stress that a patient doesn’t need, according to Korgaonkar.
“Our hope is that you are less frazzled before you even enter the cancer center because there is parking and a valet,” Korgaonkar said. “When you do enter the building, you are going to be greeted by someone. Those are things you don’t want to be thinking about when you are thinking about your cancer diagnosis. We thought through those things, and it is important to me that our patients experience that comfort.”
Once in the building, patients will encounter a spacious environment with services to fit nearly all of their needs under one roof. Services include radiation therapy, medical oncology, surgical services, and outpatient infusion services, as well as oncology social workers, oncology dietitians, nurse educators, nurse navigators and a financial counselor.
“Often times when we think about cancer, we think about the treatment and the testing, but depending on the stage of cancer, that patient may need financial counseling, ancillary services, social work, palliative care or even massage services,” Korgaonkar said.
“We now have that at one central location which cuts down on the wait and extra appointments for patients.”
Better coordination leads to better care
While patients will see modern surroundings and an array of services at WellSpan York Cancer Center, they may not see the seamless coordination among their caregivers.
Korgaonkar says one of the biggest advantages of being centrally located is that he and his colleagues can collaborate in large meetings areas and consult research staff which ultimately leads to better care.
WellSpan York Cancer Center, along with WellSpan’s other cancer centers, now collaborate with the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, a national leader in research and innovation to help fight cancer. The collaboration adds depth to the patient care experience and brings additional resources to cancer patients in the area, such as access to expanded clinical trials, second opinions and referrals to Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center for complex cases.
“I think partnering with Johns Hopkins is a huge part of the offering, and it really helps up our game from the cancer standpoint,” Korgaonkar noted.
“This is going to allow us to do even more for our patients in the form of clinical care pathways and clinical trials, and I really see this cancer center as the place where all of this happens.”