The Texas Oncology Uvalde office, which has been located within the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Center since 2011, will close Nov. 30 after lease negotiations with Uvalde Memorial Hospital failed to produce a new contract.
According to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, despite a long-standing relationship described as serving both parties and the community well, it was inability to come to mutually agreeable terms during renewal negotiations that ended the tie. The hospital is currently seeking a medical oncologist.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Texas Oncology said staff will work directly with patients about their options for continued care.
“After more than 40 years of treating cancer patients in Uvalde, Texas Oncology will be closing our location here effective November 30 due to circumstances beyond our control,” said Dr. Thomas Fisher, San Antonio region medical director for Texas Oncology. “We are committed to working with our Uvalde area patients to transition their care to other Texas Oncology locations in Hondo, Kerrville, and San Antonio.”
Texas Oncology-Uvalde offers chemotherapy and radiation therapy to cancer patients in the region. The company did not provide a number of patients treated at the Uvalde office, but the Texas Cancer Registry shows that 574 Uvalde County residents were diagnosed with cancer from 2012-2016.
“Since 2015, Texas Oncology has operated a cancer treatment center in Uvalde Monday through Friday with a full-time medical oncologist on site,” Fisher said. “We were fully committed to continuing to do so. Unfortunately, in negotiating the renewal of the lease for our facility, Uvalde Memorial Hospital made a series of demands that we felt would interfere with the delivery of appropriate patient care.”
Fisher went on to say Texas Oncology was unable to find a suitable alternative site.
“UMH has begun the search for a medical oncologist, is actively exploring opportunities for affiliations with existing oncology groups, and is also open to the possibility of independently providing oncology services,” said Karla Radicke, marketing manager for Uvalde Memorial Hospital. “Each of these options will give us the opportunity to ensure the chemotherapy needs of our community and the extended region are better served at the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center.”
The hospital is working with Clear Springs Center for Cancer Care in the search for the medical oncologist and the possibility of partnerships.
And, the hospital said the closure of Texas Oncology-Uvalde will not affect radiation oncology services provided by Clear Springs.
“Dr. Brooks, a board certified oncologist with a sub specialty in radiation oncology, has over 25 years of experience and is able to consult with any and all cancer patients to coordinate care including chemotherapy,” said Alex Strenge, practice administrator at Clear Springs Center for Cancer Care.
Strenge said that – regardless of whether a patient is a candidate for radiation oncology, medical oncology, or a combination of the two – they are happy to meet with all patients to ensure they receive the appropriate diagnostic testing, consultations and treatments.
“We are happy to work with any and all surgeons and medical oncologists in the area to make sure that each patient receives outstanding and appropriate care as close to home as possible,” said Strenge. “We’ve been taking care of patients in Uvalde for the last eight years, and we are here for the long haul.”