OLEAN — A $1.703 million outpatient cancer treatment center is working its way through regulatory approvals for West State Street.
The city planning board set a public hearing on the project for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 for a proposed oncology outpatient clinic at 1504 W. State St., currently the home of Family Video.
The $1.7 million project by Wellsville-based Jones Memorial Hospital — part of the University of Rochester Medicine network — would renovate the 6,000-square-foot space to accommodate an outpatient oncology clinic and nine-bay infusion suite.
Jim Helms, chief financial officer of the hospital, said the network currently treats between 1,500 and 2,000 patients a year through Southern Tier Cancer Care on East Delaware Avenue.
“Many of our patients were driving here to Cattaraugus County,” Helms said, and the increase from five to nine infusion bays will decrease wait times and up the number of patients who can be treated. “This works really well for Dr. Soni and for Jones Memorial Hospital — it’s a good marriage.”
The center is headed by Dr. Neeta Soni, who joined UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute as an associate professor in May, seeing patients at Jones Memorial in Wellsville and in Olean. The Olean site opened in 2003.
“It’s all about keeping healthcare in the community,” Helms said, noting some patients have to travel to larger cities like Rochester, Buffalo or even Pittsburgh for treatment.
The project was given contingent approval by the state Department of Health on Dec. 3, with an assigned start date of Jan. 31 and a finish date of May 31.
According to the filing with the DOH, the center will serve as a centralized point for oncology infusions — chemotherapy — for the hundreds of area patients.
The project also aims to help increase income for the hospital as officials attempt to leave the Vital Access Provider Program. VAP, a state program to help financially distressed healthcare entities, helps fund operational costs for turnaround initiatives with a focus on financial viability, meeting service needs, improving care quality and increasing health equity for populations at risk.
The filing states the project is expected to add a minimum of $800,000 of operating income to the hospital’s annual budget. The move will also take the operation from a for-profit enterprise to a nonprofit one.
JMH joined UR Medicine in late 2015.
The planning board on Monday approved the State Environmental Quality Review, a mandatory step to assess the impact of a project on the local area.
Planning board members asked about the site, as well as how medical waste will be handled. Helms said the medical waste will be transported to Wellsville for disposal through existing contracts.
Last week, Family Video posted on its door that the store would be closing in the near future. Store officials said the last day of business will be Jan. 26.
The site, previously owned by Mahar Enterprises, was purchased by Family Video in late 2005, with the existing structure erected in 2006.
The Wellsville location closed in late 2018. The company currently lists 754 locations nationwide, including stores in Jamestown and Fredonia, as well as Bradford and Warren in northern Pennsylvania.