LMH Health Foundation announces fundraising initiative to support Cancer Center expansion
The LMH Health Cancer Center, which opened its doors in 2000 as the LMH Oncology and Hematology Center, has grown as a regional destination for integrated hematology and oncology care. It is home to physicians trained at NCI-designated cancer centers, multidisciplinary care teams, and strong regional healthcare provider partnerships.
The growth and success of the hospital’s cancer care program has led to a steep increase in need for cancer-related services at the hospital, according to Dr. Sherri Soule, oncologist at LMH Health. The cancer center is beginning to outgrow its space at the hospital’s Maine Street location.
“Our cancer center has seen incredible growth, which has led to opportunity for expansion,” said Soule. “It is critical to the people we serve that we find a way to expand and update the cancer center, while remaining at our main location. Studies show that patients have better outcomes when treated close to home.”
LMH Health Foundation began a major fundraising initiative earlier this year, setting a goal of raising $2.5 million in philanthropic support for the renovation and expansion of the cancer center.
To date, the Foundation has announced $1.6 million in donor support, according to Rebecca Smith, LMH Health Foundation executive director and LMH Health vice president of strategic communications. While much of the planning for this project is in the early stages, Smith estimates the total cost will be in the range of $7-10 million. Hospital leadership plans to begin the updates within the next two years.
“As a not-for-profit, safety-net community hospital that treats all who come in need—regardless of ability to pay—philanthropic support will play a critical role in turning this vision into a reality,” said Smith.
The renovation’s main goal is to provide more physical space for patient care as well as to accommodate expanding services like the survivorship program, genetic testing, social work, nurse navigation and financial counseling.
“However, the final scope of the cancer center’s renovations and expansion will depend on the financial support raised through this fundraising initiative,” said Smith. “As a matter of both practicality and financial responsibility, we must test our fundraising response before defining the full scope of the project. This is why gifts from our donors are so important and meaningful for this critical initiative.”
In 2020, the LMH Health Cancer Center had more than 15,600 patient interactions. Dr. Jodi Palmer, oncologist at LMH Health, believes that the cancer center’s physical environment should be focused on patient and family comfort.
“We want to always provide an environment that is pleasant, low stress, and conducive to healing throughout the entire cancer journey,” said Palmer. “We currently have an excellent facility, but the needs of our patients have outgrown our space. The LMH Health Cancer Center offers a broad portfolio of services that we want to better accommodate.”
World-class care, close to home
The center’s oncologists and hematologists have extensive experience in treating a wide range of cancer types, including solid tumors, hematological cancers and benign blood disorders.
“The LMH Health Cancer Center provides the finest care, close to home,” said Russ Johnson, LMH Health President and CEO. “Cancer patients can find complete care at LMH Health, with access to leading-edge clinical trials, genetic testing, comprehensive support programs, lifelong survivorship resources, a cancer prevention program, and much more.”
The LMH Health Cancer Center currently offers 50 clinical trials for cancer patients. The hospital is a member of the Masonic Cancer Alliance, which provides patients with access to clinical trials and the latest advancements.
“Too often, cancer patients have to travel far from home to participate in clinical trials,” said Dr. Soule. “Our partnership with the MCA brings access to those trials closer to home.”
In 2020, the LMH Health Cancer Center earned official accreditation from the Commission on Cancer. This prestigious recognition, which is only awarded to institutions that can demonstrate a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases, comes after a rigorous, two-year survey process that monitored protocols, treatments and outcomes in LMH Health’s cancer care units.
According to the American Cancer Society, only 25 percent of U.S. hospitals have this level of accreditation. LMH Health joins just eleven other hospitals in Kansas with this outstanding credential.
“There has always been a fantastic team providing care to cancer patients in Lawrence, Kansas, but this represents a major milestone for our hospital,” said Dr. Chad Tate, surgeon at LMH Health and chairman of the cancer committee that sought accreditation. “This accreditation provides tremendous resources for our cancer patients and their providers. It also demands that we continue to meet rigorous quality standards for our care.”
Generous community support has helped strengthen the LMH Health Cancer Center over the years. Recently, this support has made possible a new cancer survivorship program and bolstered funding to charitable care.
“The community stands behind LMH Health,” said Dr. Jodie Barr, oncologist at LMH Health. “We are who we are because the community supports this hospital, and we are able to take care of everyone.”