Special to 1812Blockhouse, From OhioHealth

OhioHealth Cancer Care will be adding a new Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) program to our services.  Launching in phases, the outpatient program will open on April 4 and transplants will begin in late summer/early fall of 2022.

BMT is a process where non-functioning, deficient bone marrow or cancerous cells are eliminated by chemotherapy and/or radiation and then replaced by new, healthy cells. The ultimate goal is for a cure or at least to control the disease.

The program will be available system-wide to all eligible patients, including to patients at  OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital and OhioHealth Shelby Hospital. It will be located at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Arthur G.H. Bing, MD, Cancer Center. Medical director Yvonne Efebera, MD, MPH, brings over 20 years of international experience to OhioHealth Cancer Care. 

“I am excited to have joined OhioHealth and for this new BMT program to impact the lives of patients in the community,” said Dr. Efebera. “While new to OhioHealth, the program encompasses decades of physician experience, education and clinical trial experience. We will provide a comprehensive and compassionate environment to care for patients and help them deal with not only their cancer, but their mental, physical and emotional health.”

The BMT program will serve patients with hematologic or blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.  Patients with non-cancerous disorders, like bone marrow failure, metabolic disorders and primary immunodeficiency disorders will also be served through this program.

“These diseases are very complex conditions to treat,” said Dr. Efebera. The acuity of patients is severe and their treatment must be carefully managed.  In fact, many medical specialties are brought in to bear in support of their care, including critical care, immunology, pulmonology, nephrology, cardiology and, of course, hematology and oncology.”

The program was developed after seeing a need for these services at OhioHealth. 

“We realized we were disrupting our patients’ continuity of care when we had to send patients who needed BMT services to other health systems,” said Praveen Dubey, MD, OhioHealth VP of Cancer Care.  “Having this program allows our patients to receive all of their care in one place, which is much more convenient for them. This new BMT program addresses the current unmet needs of our patients and allows us to keep the safe and high-quality continuity of care for patients closer to home and within our system.”

The number of BMTs are continuing to rise steadily in the United States and are expected to grow 9 percent in the next five years.  OhioHealth is hoping to do 150 transplants per year over the next five years.

An inpatient unit is currently being built within 17,000 square feet of existing space at Riverside Methodist Hospital and a 10,000 square foot portion of the atrium level of the Bing Cancer Center, previously occupied by conference room spaces, has been converted to include an infusion space for BMT patients, ambulatory care and outpatient clinics, a lab and a pharmacy.

OhioHealth is investing $20.5 million to establish the program.  The architect for the project was DesignGroup and construction is being done by Messer.

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