News alert: OLOL announces plans for $100M cancer institute

telemedicine Our Lady of the Lake ER
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. (File photo)

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center is investing $100 million to establish a new regional cancer center that will be branded as the Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Institute.

The investment will include construction of an estimated $60 million, 80,000-square-foot, freestanding building on OLOL’s Essen Lane campus that will include medical and surgical oncology practices, a chemotherapy/infusion center, imaging and diagnostic services, an on-site pharmacy and conference center.

The exact site for the facility has not been finalized, though OLOL officials say they have narrowed it to two locations and hope to break ground in 2022 with a 2024 completion date.

The announcement comes just weeks after OLOL’s longtime partner in cancer treatment—the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, which has its own six-story building adjacent to OLOL’s main hospital building—announced it was dropping its affiliation with OLOL and is partnering with a Nashville-based network of independent cancer centers.

Since then, one of the three major oncology practices in the market, Louisiana Hematology and Oncology Associates, announced it was dropping its affiliation agreement with OLOL and entering into an exclusive partnership with MBPCC and expanding services to Baton Rouge General’s nearby Bluebonnet campus.

While today’s announcement represents a further splintering of an already divided and competitive market—Ochsner Baton Rouge Medical Center also provides cancer care and treatment—OLOL officials welcomed Gov. John Bel Edwards and Mayor Sharon Weston Broome to their news conference, underscoring what they say will be the institute’s more integrated, academic and regional approach to providing cancer care.

“When we invest $100 million in something, it’s about more than just the Baton Rouge community,” says Dr. Catherine O’Neal. “The Baton Rouge community is important but this is about growing something regional that will attract patients from all over.”

OLOL, through its current affiliation with MBPCC, has a nearly 25% market share of cancer care statewide, but loses another 10% of potential patients to major cancer centers in other markets, like MD Anderson in Houston.

The purpose of developing the new OLOL Cancer Institute is to help capture some of that patient base, OLOL officials say.

Branding around the new institute will begin as soon as this week.

While design and construction on the new facility are underway, services will be provided in existing space in the OLOL physician’s office tower.

Read Daily Report PM for more details.