The next step will be Feb. 27, when the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Board is expected to vote on a certificate of need permit for construction of a $38 million Siteman building on the Memorial Hospital East campus in Shiloh.
The Swansea practice is called Illinois Oncology Ltd. Its four oncologists are Dr. William J. Popovic, Dr. Alfred O. Greco, Dr. Guillermo Rodriguez Jr. and Dr. John L. Visconti.
“We are happy to continue providing top-tier care for patients in Southern Illinois and beyond,” Popovic stated in a press release. “We also look forward to doing so as part of a leading academic medical center.”
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Popovic established the practice in 1988. It will continue to operate at 4000 N. Illinois Lane, Suite C.
The immediate benefit of medical school affiliation is that the practice will have access to advanced research and treatment protocols, according to Dr. Paul J. Scheel Jr., the school’s associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs and CEO of its faculty group.
“It really does create more options to treat the patient,” he said, noting referrals will be easier for patients who need surgery by Siteman doctors in St. Louis or experimental drugs only available at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
In January, Memorial Regional Health Services (Memorial East and Memorial Hospital in Belleville) became part of BJC HealthCare after a two-year “strategic affiliation.” BJC partners with Washington University School of Medicine to operate Siteman in St. Louis.
Memorial operates The Cancer Treatment Center in Swansea, which is next door to Illinois Oncology Ltd.
When asked if the center’s staff would become affiliated with the medical school and eventually Siteman, Scheel said, “That is a possibility, but it’s premature to answer that question.”
Memorial spokeswoman Anne Thomure referred questions to President Mark Turner, who could not be reached for comment.
Plans call for a new three-story, 70,000-square-foot Siteman building in Shiloh by 2019. Memorial applied for a certificate of need permit from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in December.
The project hasn’t created much controversy, according to Project Reviewer Mike Constantino. The board has received no public comments and no requests for a public hearing.
“We’ve had up to 5,000 or 6,000 comments on some projects that are controversial,” Constantino said. “Those are usually for new hospitals.”
Memorial’s permit application can be viewed at www.illinois.gov/sites/hfsrb. A review board staff report will be added Feb. 13. The public can submit written comments on the application through Feb. 7 (postmark) and on the staff report by Feb. 19 (in office by 9 a.m.).
The application states that Siteman services in Shiloh will include radiation, medical oncology, community-based preventive programs, direct access to clinical trials conducted by Siteman clinicians and other oncology-related services.
“The proposed program will significantly reduce the need for western Illinois residents to travel to St. Louis for cancer care,” it states.
The address for comments is Courtney Avery, Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, 525 W. Jefferson St., Second Floor, Springfield, IL 62761.
Patients at Illinois Oncology Ltd. who have questions about their care should call 618-233-8000. In the press release, Dr. John DiPersio, chief of oncology at Washington University School of Medicine, praised doctors in the practice.
“These physicians are longstanding and widely respected members of the metro-east and Southern Illinois community and are known for providing exceptional patient care,” he stated.