Mercy plans new cancer clinic for Perrysburg to open in 2016

Posted on February 26, 2015

Written by: Marlene Harris-Taylor

Published by: Toledo Blade

Mercy is teaming up with the Toledo Clinic oncology physicians’ group to create a new cancer center in Perrysburg, one they hope will help to streamline patient care and keep people treated locally.

Officials from both health-care companies will make the announcement at a news conference today. The proposed 40,000-square-foot facility will be built adjacent to Mercy’s Emergency Services at 12621 Eckel Junction Rd.

When the $14.5 million Mercy Perrysburg Cancer Center opens in early 2016, it will be the second dedicated facility in the Toledo area that brings a number of cancer services, such as surgery, radiology, and chemotherapy under the same roof with a group of cancer physicians.

The Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center, which has a similar concept, opened two years ago on the campus of the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio. ProMedica also operates the Hickman Cancer Center at ProMedica Flower Hospital that opened in 2008, which primarily offers outpatient radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Mercy officials said what will distinguish this new cancer center from others in the Toledo area will be its approach to treating patients and helping them connect to top specialists in the country, as well as to national clinical trials that provide experimental medications.

“We are not necessarily saying that if you have to go to Chicago or a Cleveland Clinic that you shouldn’t go there. I think what we are saying is, though, let us help you figure that out and coordinate it and integrate it for your care, rather than you having to figure it out on your own,” said Dr. Imran Andrabi, chief operating officer and president of Mercy.

More than 25 to 30 percent of people with newly diagnosed cancer leave the Toledo area to seek treatment at major medical centers such as the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Clinic, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and the Detroit Medical Center at Wayne State University, said Toledo Clinic oncologist Dr. Rex Mowat.

“They are going to a name,” said Dr. Mowat, who is the lead physician helping Mercy create and design the new cancer center. “Marketing works. They feel they just can’t get it here.”

Dr. Mowat is convinced people can receive the same quality of care but closer to home.

“The travel, the time to get patients back and forth, is extraordinarily fatiguing and it can harm patients,” he said.

The time it takes to get patients from the initial problem, to diagnosis, to treatment is getting longer and longer because of complicated treatment plans and more specialists involved in care. The goal of the center is to have one doctor that a patient can turn to who is overseeing all their care, Dr. Mowat said.

“We are going to make it easier for me to get these patients through the system because I can walk across the hallway and say OK let’s go. This patient’s in my office right now, let’s set this patient up, and boom away we go,” he said.

“We want to jump in that space and make it easy and convenient. It sounds like it should be happening, but it doesn’t happen today. It is very, very fragmented,” Dr. Andrabi said.

The cancer center also will focus on providing more support services for patients including social workers, counselors, and nutrition experts.

There will be 11 oncologists working primarily at the center, three from Mercy, and the remainder from the Toledo Clinic. The Toledo Clinic oncologists’ main campus at 4126 Holland-Sylvania Rd. will continue to operate, as will the group’s four other satellite locations in the area, Dr. Mowat said.

Dr. Mowat said the model being developed at Perrysburg has been successful at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

“Mayo is doctor-driven. The other institutions are dis-coordinated. They are all separate private practitioners. If it’s a university model, the bureaucracy is so cumbersome,” he said.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at or 419-724-6091.