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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Spotsy Regional to join with VCU for radiation services at new cancer center

The lobby of the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.

The Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center will join with the VCU Massey Cancer Center in Richmond to fund and operate a portion of Spotsylvania’s new cancer center.

Spotsylvania Regional and its corporate parent, HCA Virginia Health System, will be 51 percent owners of the new joint venture, said Tim Tobin, chief executive officer of Spotsylvania Regional. The agreement was signed earlier this month.

“They have the ability to give us guidance in the ongoing operation of the center,” Tobin said.

Spotsylvania Regional is in the early stages of building the 7,000-square-foot center at its Pogonia Medical Arts Building, adjacent to the hospital. The hospital has ordered the needed equipment, Tobin said, and its general contractor, Robins & Morton of Birmingham, Ala., is mobilizing at the site. The ceremonial groundbreaking will take place on Dec. 14, with completion scheduled for spring of next year.

The new partnership calls for VCU and Spotsylvania to share in the radiation therapy aspects of the center. The center will have a linear accelerator, used to direct high-energy X–rays at patients’ cancerous tumors, and will do several types of advanced radiation therapy, Tobin said.

Specialists from VCU Massey, including a radiation oncologist, dosimetrist and medical physicist, will work at the center. Spotsylvania Regional will supply the clerical and nursing staff, Tobin said.

“This partnership presents another opportunity to make available Massey’s patient care and research to more Virginians,” said Dr. Gordon Ginder, director of VCU Massey, in a statement.

The new partnership is the third in the region between a local hospital and an academic medical center. In 2009, the University of Virginia Health System purchased a minority share in Culpeper Regional Hospital.

In 2010, Mary Washington Healthcare signed an agreement with U.Va. to jointly fund and operate one of the advanced treatment programs at Mary Washington’s new cancer center in Fredericksburg.

For Massey, the deal with Spotsylvania Regional is similar to the partnership it has with Community Memorial Healthcenter in South Hill. VCU also has other types of oncology partnerships with hospitals in Richmond, Emporia and Kilmarnock, according to its statement.

When Spotsylvania opens its center next year, local cancer patients will be able to choose from among five cancer centers. The other options include Mary Washington and Stafford hospitals, Culpeper Regional Hospital and the Mid-Rivers Cancer Center in Montross.