Oncology redesign part of ongoing hospital changes

COSHOCTON – A redesign in the oncology department of Coshocton Regional Medical Center will eliminate chemotherapy treatment, which has resulted in an average $1 million loss annually for the medical facility.

The changes taking place within the next 90 days will also see cancer testing, support services and infusion therapy folded under the new Outpatient Treatment Services department. This will allow such treatments and testing to take place earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon as there will be more personnel available for such services. No employees will lose their jobs.

It’s part of ongoing alterations at the former Coshocton County Memorial Hospital, which was bought by Prime Healthcare last year. Spokeswoman Mary Ellen Given said Prime Healthcare’s focus has been on finding out what the hospital does well and accentuating those fields while cutting areas patients can best be served by elsewhere.

Given said only 12 percent of the oncology department’s work is chemotherapy, while the remainder is drug infusions, blood testing and support services, like flushing catheters as an example. Chemotherapy can be costly for a smaller hospital, even if a patient has insurance. Given said larger facilities can spread the cost out over more patients.

She wasn’t sure how many active patients the oncology department had, but said less than 75 letters were sent to patients to notify them of the changes, which represented those who had received some sort of service in the last six months. Patients are not being shifted to any specific cancer care center, Given said, but that the hospital would work with patients to…