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'Stars' shine down on hospital

Cancer center given go-ahead for patients

It was billed as an “Evening Under the Stars,” an annual fundraiser and celebration for Harrington Memorial Hospital. For many in attendance Saturday night, news that the hospital’s new cancer center will see its first patient this week must have seemed truly heaven sent. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
June 23, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — The event had been in the works for months, but the key news element was only one day old.

Besides the dinner, music, dancing and parade of donation announcements, Saturday's "Evening Under the Stars" fundraiser for the new Cancer Center at Harrington revealed that the project got the green light from the state Department of Public Health (DPH) Friday to start treating patients.

Contacted afterward, CEO Edward Moore said the DPH "verbally approved for us to proceed" after visiting the site last Tuesday and will send formal, written approval soon. That covers only the first floor radiation treatment area, which is a for-profit joint venture with Florida-based 21st Century Oncology; the hospital's own, nonprofit second -floor chemotherapy center still has to get approval and equipment. It should open in September or October, he said.

DPH approval came as the clock was winding down.

Last summer, the state gave Harrington what's called a Physician Exemption Letter, which authorized doing the project as long as it saw its first patient by June 30, 2009, Moore said.

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage.

Stonebridge Press
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