Support pours in for cancer center application

Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center leaders are doing their part to put their best foot forward as they apply for approval of a cancer center for the new hospital.

It looks like the community also has stepped up.

The hospital has received 1,100 letters of support over the past two months from the area and will submit them with an application to the Health Facilities Council as it seeks a Certificate of Need to move forward with a cancer center.

“We had a goal of 1,000 and we are excited that we exceeded that,” said MMSC CEO John Hughes. “All over the region people have been very supportive.”

There is still time to email a letter of support for a local cancer center to publicrelations@marshmed.com as the deadline is Aug. 20.

The hospital will submit that application and the letters to the five-member board by Sept. 2. Leaders will then attend a hearing and plead their case at an Oct. 21 meeting of the board.

Hughes said many of the letters from community members indicated just how much people have to travel for cancer care and what a benefit having a cancer center in Marshalltown would be.

While not every letter will be read by the council prior to making a decision, Hughes calls the letters a “key element” of the application process.

Hughes said it’s tough to speculate which direction the Health Facilities Council will take with its decision, but the hospital is doing all it can to put in a solid application.

“We feel very positive that we’ve done everything that we can do,” Hughes said. “We feel like we’ve made a very strong case.”

If the application is approved, the cancer center would be built following the completion of the current phase one project of the new hospital in 2015 with expected completion of a cancer center sometime in 2016.

The center would be able to treat a large percentage of cancers. It will feature medical and radiation oncology with a linear accelerator to provide radiation therapy locally.