Cancer patients to have access to chemo in Verde Valley

Northern Arizona Healthcare plans to provide medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion treatment at the Verde Valley Medical Center. They also plan to add a larger cancer facility to the VVMC’s Sedona campus, according to Trista MacVittie, NAH and VVMC’s communications director. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Northern Arizona Healthcare plans to provide medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion treatment at the Verde Valley Medical Center. They also plan to add a larger cancer facility to the VVMC’s Sedona campus, according to Trista MacVittie, NAH and VVMC’s communications director. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Battling cancer in the Verde Valley can mean miles of driving to get to daily chemotherapy treatments.

But soon, Verde Valley cancer patients will be able to get their chemotherapy treatments in Cottonwood and Sedona.

Northern Arizona Healthcare plans to provide medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion treatment at the Verde Valley Medical Center. They also plan to add a larger cancer facility to the VVMC’s Sedona campus, according to Trista MacVittie, NAH and VVMC’s communications director.

This will be after Arizona Oncology in Sedona closes its doors later this year.

Right now, most patients who require chemotherapy treatments go to Arizona Oncology in Sedona or travel to Prescott, Flagstaff or Phoenix.

But MacVittie said: “We were aware Arizona Oncology planned to leave the community this year, which is why we have been developing a plan to begin offering medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion ourselves to ensure people in the Verde Valley have access to treatments without leaving the area.

“In April we will be opening up our own practice after a new physician arrives to oversee the service,” she said.

Actual treatment will be provided at NAH’s Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood until renovations can begin at the Sedona Campus “as part of a larger cancer facility plan.”

The new VVMC’s cancer facility on the Sedona Campus will be required to meet different regulations, MacVittie pointed out.

Arizona Oncology, which is one of the largest cancer center groups in the state according to its website, has more than 70 physicians in over 28 locations in Arizona including Sedona, where their facility is located inside the VVMC’s Sedona Campus or hospital.

The reason the Sedona center of Arizona Oncology is closing is because long-time Dr Debora Lindquist, M.D., FACP, is retiring, explained Arizona Oncology Marketing spokesperson Amy Magaziner Wednesday.

After 30 years of serving the Sedona and surrounding communities with quality oncology care, Dr. Lindquist is retiring on April 26, Magazine said.

“It has been an honor caring for all patients and I will miss them greatly.” Dr Linquist said in a statement.

Even though Lindquist is retiring at the end of April, Magaziner said they are still planning the exact date that the center will close.

After the closing, current patients can choose to travel to one of the other Arizona Oncology centers, Magaziner said. “Arizona Oncology remains committed to providing quality oncology care at our northern practices in both Flagstaff and Prescott Valley,” which are the closest to Sedona, Magaziner said,

“We have established a dedicated patient line for our patients (928) 220-3626 or patients can visit ArizonaOncology.com for additional locations.  All of our practices share an electronic medical records which makes it easy for patients to continue their care at one of these practices.”

MacVittie said NAH is planning that “the clinic for the medical oncology physician will be available at both the Sedona and Cottonwood campuses,” 

Current patients of Arizona Oncology, who don’t wish to leave the Verde Valley for their treatment, can transition their care to the VVMC or Sedona Campus, once Arizona Oncology “closes its Verde Valley office,” she said.

“We are in the process of dedicating resources, including staff, scheduling teams, telephone numbers, etc., to support this transition. We will have this information very soon, and once we do we will be sharing it with the community and referring physicians,” MacVittie said

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