The new facility, which would be the first free-standing cancer center in Illinois, would span seven floors and have nearly 130 patient beds. It would provide both inpatient and outpatient care for patients with all types of cancer. The center will offer chemotherapy treatments, diagnostic services, X-rays, infusions and more, said Dr. Adekunle Odunsi, the director of UChicago’s Medicine’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only two National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in Illinois.
“The unique opportunity that we have right now is to reimagine cancer care of the future with this new hospital,” Odunsi said. “This is going to be a patient-centric facility.”
Opening the new cancer center will address some of the capacity constraints and challenges plaguing other UChicago Medicine facilities. The system says the cancer center will free up more room for patients who need attention for other conditions, like organ transplants, digestive diseases, cardiology issues and trauma. Surgeries will not take place at the new center, but surgical services will be close by in other facilities, Odunsi said. The cancer center will be directly across the street from the system’s adult emergency department.
Pending regulatory approval, construction of the new facility will begin in 2023 and open to patients in 2026. The project is expected to create more than 500 construction jobs. UChicago says at least 41% of contract dollars will go to minority- and woman-owned firms. Odunsi could not say how many physician, nursing and other staff will be employed at the center once it’s open.
While UChicago Medicine has long had a large presence in Hyde Park, Odunsi said the health system chose the neighborhood for the new cancer center in an effort to better serve South Side residents. About 56% of South Side patients leave the area to access health care, and many carry a higher cancer burden, according to data from the Illinois Hospital Association.
UChicago Medicine will share more information about the project at a public meeting hosted by the Illinois Health Faculties & Service Review Board in the coming weeks. A date has yet to be set.