It was a big day for Greenwich Hospital on Tuesday when it was not only able to show off its newly renovated Bendheim Cancer Center but also formally announce its new relationship with Yale-New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Center.
Hospital officials said this partnership, where Yale-New Haven will operate a campus in the Bendheim Center, which is located across the street from Greenwich Hospital, would allow doctors to work collaboratively. Greenwich Hospital President and CEO Frank Corvino called this a “milestone in our ongoing efforts to deliver high quality and safe health care.” He said because of this “unique relationship” with Smilow, Greenwich Hospital would be able to “add another level of care to an already outstanding array of cancer resources available.”
Greenwich Hospital already has highly regarded cancer specialists on staff and Mr. Corvino said the new collaborative efforts would give patients immediate access to Yale-New Haven specialists for prostate, genitourinary, head and neck, gynecologic and brain cancers. Additional cancer specialists are expected to be added later this year and Mr. Corvino said patients would be able to benefit from access to Yale-New Haven clinical trials that would take place at Greenwich Hospital.
Thomas Lynch Jr., the director of the Yale Cancer Center and the physician in chief of the Smilow Cancer Hospital, said he was delighted to be on hand to announce the partnership because of Greenwich’s hard working staff, innovative cancer therapies, commitment to research and ability to deliver patient and family centered care. Dr. Lynch said that those four principles were shared between Greenwich and Yale Hospitals before the partnership even began and now they would be able to work together on the fifth principle that united the facilities, a commitment to ending cancer and ending the burden it places on communities.
“Why are we here? We’re here because we know the doctors and nurses who take care of patients at the Bendheim Cancer Center are the very best,” Dr. Lynch said.
The partnership comes in addition to the renovation of the Bendheim Cancer Center, which now has a new reception area, an infusion area that Mr. Corvino called “state of the art” and an updated nourishment center for patients. A pharmacist has also been added to the cancer center on site to fill prescriptions and answer questions. Dr. Lynch said it was a “beautiful facility” that would be able to support both patients and their families during their treatment.
“I see a place that’s warm and inviting and will actually bring people together to build a community,” Dr. Lynch said.
Before the ribbon was officially cut, Dickerman Hollister Jr., the medical director for the Bendheim Cancer Center, also spoke. He acknowledged that there had been doubts about how well a partnership would work and said “we know there are one or two naysayers out there.”
“We’re here to show them the error of their ways,” Dr. Hollister said. “We’re here to show them how this affiliation can benefit everyone. We’re not doing it by talking points or Powerpoints. We’re doing it with one of the finest ambulatory facilities available. This is the proof of this concept of affiliation. We’ve got community oncologists. We’ve got academic affiliations. We’ve got innovative treatments. You can’t beat this.”
Dr. Hollister said the new facility had been open for three weeks and there had been “nothing but positive comments” from staff, doctors and, most importantly, patients. He declared the center was “already a hit” and that he expected things to get even better with the new partnership in place.
“We are so excited to strengthen our relationship with the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale and to bring new treatments and new physicians and new opportunities to patients in our community,” Dr. Hollister said.
Dr. Hollister said he realized that people missed the “small, independent community hospital model” that had been in place for decades, but health care had changed to something more complicated, technology driven, independent and financially challenged. The steps Greenwich Hospital has taken, including this partnership, he said were examples of it changing with the times and adapting while retaining “the best of our small, community hospital.”
Mr. Corvino also said that things had changed in the hospital’s model but this partnership proved that the core mission was the same.
“The opening of the Smilow Greenwich campus underscores our commitment to find innovative ways to enhance the exceptional care and service excellence that distinguishes Greenwich Hospital,” Mr. Corvino said. “As always, our physicians, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, social workers, volunteers and many others in health care remain dedicated to addressing the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of our cancer patients and their families. To do anything less in the communities we serve would be unconscionable.”