By GREGORY ZELLER //
A new chapter in Long Island’s fight against cancer is beginning, even as the book closes on a longtime regional treatment facility.
New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on Thursday cut the ribbon of MSK Nassau, an ultramodern, $180 million outpatient cancer-treatment facility located on Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale. Slated to officially open for business Monday, the 2-story, 114,000-square-foot center replaces MSK’s 22-year-old Rockville Centre facility, which is shutting down.
Thus, MSK Nassau is Memorial Sloan Kettering’s new third Long Island facility – joining cancer-treatment centers in Commack and Hauppauge – and arguably its most advanced.
Boasting 180-plus medical and professional staffers and a cutting-edge array of cancer-fighting tools – covering everything from infusion services to medical oncology to radiation therapy, along with an all-new, first-on-Long Island “rehabilitation suite” – MSK Nassau “represents the future of cancer care for Long Island,” according to Memorial Sloan Kettering President and CEO Craig Thompson.
“This state-of-the-art freestanding facility exemplifies the spirit of MSK and the expertise of our caregivers, and we believe that patients will find it warm and welcoming,” Thompson said Thursday. “We’re honored to be part of the Uniondale community, and thank our neighbors for their enthusiastic support.”
Construction on the long-anticipated facility – located adjacent to the NYCB Live arena, still known best as the Nassau Coliseum – began in March 2017 (the estimated price tag was only $140 million then). Work was led by NYC-based Hunter Roberts Construction Group, which also built MSK’s West Harrison facility, working off architectural designs by Big Apple-based Ewing Cole.
Along the way, planners spared no effort creating a space that’s both comfortable – MSK called it “light-filled” – and functional. The “planning, architecture and interior design have been inextricably linked,” according to the Manhattan-based mothership, resulting in an “effortlessly elegant” cancer-treatment center.
Complimentary WiFi, a private gymnasium, a curated art gallery, patient control of temperature and lighting in 26 private “infusion rooms” and other creature comforts abound.
But don’t be fooled by the relaxing conveniences – MSK Nassau is a hard-core cancer-fighting stronghold, stocked with the most innovative technologies available to diagnose, monitor and treat cancer: precise radiation-delivery systems, advanced pathology testing, new immunotherapy protocols, a host of super-sensitive imaging devices (including PET, MRI and ultrasound scanners) and much more.
“Our commitment to delivering the best cancer care and experience remains steadfast,” noted Lisa DeAngelis, acting physician-in-chief of Memorial Hospital, MSK’s main Manhattan campus. “Our ability as a team to offer our patients a personalized treatment plan, coupled with robust and efficient testing and care that is compassionate and near the comfort and familiarity of their homes, is the experience we’ll strive for each day at MSK Nassau.”
Patients will also have access to the MSK system’s “robust clinical-trials program,” including early-stage studies of “novel targeted anticancer drugs,” according to MSK.
“Today, clinical trials often offer the most-promising and innovative treatments for patients,” MSK Department of Radiation Oncology Vice Chairman Oren Cahlon said in a statement. “We are thrilled that MSK Nassau patients will have access to our unparalleled clinical-trial portfolio.”
Healthcare providers and administrators from the closing MSK Rockville Centre facility, which has operated on the Mercy Medical Center campus since 1997, are transferring to the new center, where the staff includes on-site Rehabilitation and Disease Management teams in addition to medical, surgical and radiation specialists and other oncology experts.
MSK Nassau will also uphold Memorial Sloan Kettering’s longstanding tradition of working alongside regional groups to address cancer-related community health issues, according to Pamela Drullinsky, the new facility’s medical site director for the MSK Regional Care Network.
“Collaboration is a hallmark of MSK,” Drullinsky said Thursday. “And as our understanding of cancer continues to evolve, creating change in the way we care for and treat people living with this disease, we want to be able to share our knowledge and raise awareness within the communities we serve.
“MSK Nassau merges world-class medicine with compassionate, personalized care,” the doctor added. “All into one location that is both nearby and familiar.”