Spokane Journal of Business

Providence plans new gynecologic oncology clinic

Office has latest services offered at women’s center

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-—LeAnn Bjerken
Left to right, Drs. Melanie Bergman, Elizabeth Grosen, and Susannah Mourton, all of whom previously practiced at Cancer Care Northwest, are joining Providence Medical Group.

Spokane-based Providence Health Care plans to open this month a new gynecologic oncology clinic, which officials say is part of a larger focus on coordinating women’s cancer care with other women’s health services.

The new clinic space is being remodeled prior to its planned opening on Oct. 29.

Kathy Tarcon, chief operating officer for Spokane-based physician services organization Providence Medical Group, of Spokane, says the decision to bring the new clinic to the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital campus is part of Providence Health Care’s continued efforts to bring the latest and most advanced care and treatments to cancer patients here. 

“Providence has begun adding more women’s services to the Sacred Heart women’s center in recent years, and in talking with the gynecologic oncologist physicians, we felt that bringing this clinic to the campus was a good fit for their patients,” Tarcon says.

Located on the main floor of the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center Women’s Health Center, at 101 W. 8th, the new 4,000-square-foot clinic will include six exam rooms and is planned to be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Kelly Piger, senior director of surgical services with Providence Medical Group, will serve as clinic manager. She says the space previously was occupied by Sacred Heart’s maternity clinic and also included some outpatient women’s services, which have been moved to new offices on the same floor.

 “We’re making some small changes to the space to allow for the best workflow,” she says.

Piger says three gynecologic oncology physicians who previously practiced with Cancer Care Northwest—Drs. Melanie Bergman, Elizabeth Grosen, and Susannah Mourton—will join Providence Medical Group and treat patients at the new clinic.

In addition to the three physicians, caregivers on the clinic’s team include two physician assistants, one advanced registered nurse practitioner, and two registered nurses, who also will move to Providence Medical Group from Cancer Care Northwest. 

Piger says the new gynecologic oncology clinic will provide consultations, as well as medical and surgical care options for patients based upon their diagnosis.

“Women with gynecological cancer will be able to come to the clinic and see an oncologist who will follow up with them on surgery or referrals for treatments like chemotherapy or radiation,” she says.

Tarcon says the new clinic will be the first on the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center campus that is geared specifically toward gynecological oncology.

She notes that it’s also purposefully located near a range of other women’s health services including the high-risk pregnancy clinic, the Father Malner Maternity clinic, and the surgical and medical gynecology clinic.

“One of the biggest side effects of cancer treatments is fatigue, so our objective was to put as many related services nearby as possible, so women don’t need to travel to multiple sites for care,” Tarcon says.

“We now have labs, radiology and imaging studies, chemotherapy, all nearby. In addition to being more convenient for patients, it also enables them to stay compliant with their treatments and seek specialists more easily.”

She says the new clinic will collaborate with Providence Health Care’s outpatient infusion, nutrition, and physical therapy departments, in addition to collaboration with Cancer Care Northwest and radiation oncology services through The Alliance for Cancer Care.

Providence Health Care created the Alliance for Cancer Care with Cancer Care Northwest and Kootenai Health in 2013, to further optimize the quality, coordination, and experience for cancer patients and their families in the region.

Piger explains that the three physicians who will practice at the new clinic also draw in patients from throughout the region, including parts of Montana and Oregon.

“Many of these patients are coming from far away, so it makes sense to provide them with easy access to as many types of related care and treatments here as possible,” she says.

Grosen, one of those incoming physicians, says the new clinic is exciting both because of its emphasis of providing comprehensive, specialized health care for women, and its central location.

“We came from a clinic that focused on oncology. However, many of our patients do not have cancer and are more comfortable in a clinic focused more broadly on women’s health, of which gynecologic oncology is an integral component,” she says.  “The new clinic location provides the additional benefit of providing care at one location—clinic, surgery, and chemotherapy.”

Mourton, another of the physicians, says the new clinic represents an opportunity for patients, staff, and physicians to become part of the care services offered by Providence Health Care.

“I am very excited about adding a comprehensive gynecologic cancer service to the already superb health care services for women that currently exists at Providence,” she says.

In addition to the new clinic, Providence Health Care also will continue to collaborate with Cancer Care Northwest on services such as cancer treatment research and counseling or support groups, Tarcon says.

“A lot of oncology care is research based, with a focus on finding the most effective, long-term outcomes for patients,” she says. “So, we continue to have discussions and collaborate with these physicians to offer the latest research studies to women who may benefit from them and ensure that the care we provide will enable the most successful outcomes.”

Providence Health Care covers the Eastern Washington service area of parent organization Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health and is a network of health services and facilities, including Sacred Heart, Providence Holy Family Hospital, four Spokane-area urgent care centers, and critical-access hospitals in Colville and Chewelah.

Providence Medical Group is the physician organization within Providence Health Care that currently includes 850 physicians and advanced practitioners.

Providence St. Joseph Health operates 51 hospitals, 829 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing, and other health and educational services. The health system and its partners employ more than 119,000 people in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

LeAnn Bjerken
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Reporter LeAnn Bjerken covers health care at the Journal of Business. A Minnesota native and cat lover, she enjoys beachside vacations and writing poetry. LeAnn has worked for the Journal since 2015.

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