St. Luke’s Hospital infusion center renovations underway

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2017

COLUMBUS – St. Luke’s Hospital is working on renovations to Building 4 of their medical office park for a new infusion center expected to open before the summer.

According to Kathy Woodham, director of marketing and public relations at St. Luke’s Hospital, the 4,681 square foot building was formerly the Hyperbaric and Wound Care Center.

“The infusion bays, as well as the clinic waiting room, feature new floor-to-ceiling windows installed to allow maximum light into the areas,” Woodham said. “There was already a good amount of space for the infusion bays.”

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The building’s renovations were designed by Tryon architect John Walters. The general contractor for the project is T.C. Strickland Construction out of Shelby, N.C. ME&P Engineering out of Campobello, S.C. is the mechanical and electrical engineer for the project.

“There’s definitely a firm commitment for the St. Luke’s board to fund this oncology service, has been actually for a number of months,” St. Luke’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Bross emphasized. “We’re grateful to the board and leadership team with the assistance of Cathy Moore and the clinical team for working towards this. The building is the first one you see closest to the road.”

Cathy Moore, chief nursing officer at St. Luke’s, explained the infusion center would include four individual infusion bays for chemotherapy and two private infusion rooms. The bays will allow both open and private options for patients.

“It (the building) lent itself perfectly for this kind of service,” Moore said. “The overall intent for the clinic will be for patients to come in and see their doctor and have check-ups. Patients will receive their chemotherapy as well as any other associated infusions that go along with those.”

Moore explained as many as six to eight patients a day could come through the center. Blood transfusions and treatments for rheumatoid arthritis would be performed there.

“What we anticipate is people who have to go out of the area, be it to Rutherfordton or the upper portion of South Carolina or even towards Hendersonville, can be able to relocate back towards this site,” Moore explained. “Even if their oncologist may be in a different area, we could potentially work with them to get their chemo or infusions closer to home.”

The hospital recently hired oncologist Dr. Rich Cambareri, who received his training at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., to direct the center. Cambareri has a specialty in medical oncology and has worked with Dr. Matt Rees and the Levine Cancer Institute in Rutherfordton.

Cambareri will oversee a staff of four registered nurses and two office staff when the center opens. According to Woodham, St. Luke’s Hospital is the 26th hospital to be connected with the Levine Cancer Institute. A grand opening and ribbon cutting will be scheduled for the completion of the project.

“This is a process that has been in the works for two years as it has been identified as a need in the community,” Bross emphasized. “Renovations and recruiting the providers and staff have been underway for the last seven months. We want to thank Ken Shull for working on this before I got here.”

Ken Shull, the hospital’s former CEO, retired in 2016.