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Moffitt Cancer Center's Future Taking Shape

an artist's rendering of the new hospital

To meet the growing patient needs, a new inpatient surgical hospital will be completed in 2023 on the east side of North McKinley Drive, across from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Outpatient Center.

Venture less than 2 miles from Moffitt Cancer Center's familiar Magnolia campus hospital, and you can see the future taking shape.

By Ann Miller Baker

A new inpatient surgical hospital, 10 stories high with nearly a half-million square feet of space, is rising on the Cancer Center's 20-acre McKinley campus across from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Outpatient Center. The new facility will expand our capacity for inpatient care and modernize our ability to treat and cure. When completed in 2023, the new hospital will boast 128 inpatient beds -- and the capacity to expand to 400 beds as demand grows. It features 19 operating rooms large and flexible enough for current and future technologies, as well as 72 perioperative rooms. Digital imaging capabilities will include three MRI scanners, three CT scanners and two nuclear cameras. A pedestrian walkway across McKinley Drive will link the new hospital to the existing outpatient center. Another walkway will provide convenient access to an adjacent three-story parking garage with nearly 500 spaces.

The economic impact of the new facility will be significant, creating upwards of $120 million in direct salaries with 5,500 workers estimated to work on the project from beginning to end.

ground breaking
In late fiscal year 2020 Moffitt Cancer Center broke ground on a new $400 million, 498,000-square-foot facility that will serve as an inpatient surgical hospital for Florida's growing cancer population.

Additionally, the Cancer Center is committed to the inclusion of diversity vendors in all aspects of the Moffitt Cancer Center expansion hospital construction project. This commitment is shared with our partners working on the project, including New York-based Barr & Barr, Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Hammes Company, Omaha, Nebraska-based HDR and Tampa-based Horus Construction Services, Inc. (a minority owned business). This team is committed to ensuring diverse businesses have an opportunity to participate in the project in a meaningful way. Working with Moffitt Cancer Center as part of our supplier diversity outreach efforts, Barr & Barr and Horus Construction Services conducted two supplier diversity vendor outreach events in 2020, inviting minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses to learn more about the Moffitt Cancer Center expansion hospital construction project, registration and pre-qualification process, project scopes/timelines, diversity goals and upcoming bid opportunities.

The $400 million project comes not a moment too soon. Over the next 10 years, Moffitt Cancer Center anticipates a 65% increase in patient volumes and a 33% increase in cancer surgeries. The Cancer Center's existing 34-year-old hospital has been maxed out under today's demands with no space to grow. But it still will be needed after the expansion hospital is completed. The Magnolia campus hospital will serve patients with blood cancers and other diagnoses that lend themselves to nonsurgical treatments like stem cell transplants and innovative immunotherapies such as CAR T.

"I guess we're a victim of our own success," said H. Lee Moffitt, Founder and former Florida Speaker of the House. "We are the 'go-to' place when you get cancer -- whether for a second opinion or treatment. As word gets out of how good we are, more and more people are seeking help at the center."

"Florida has the second highest cancer burden of any state in America," noted Timothy J. Adams, Chair, Moffitt Cancer Center Institute Board of Directors. "Moffitt must continue to be a resource for our patients by building for the future."

Designing the Future

Designing for the future required the input and imagination of many who will use the new hospital. Physicians, nurses, lab personnel, pharmacy staff, even leadership and administrators -- and most importantly, patients and families -- more than 170 stakeholders took part in immersive design sessions in early 2019.

"Everyone brought a different point of view," said Sachin Apte, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer. "We wanted to be sure to take everyone's expertise into account so that we could build the most patient-centered, family-centered and efficient facility possible."

For physicians like neurosurgeon and neuro-oncologist Arnold Etame, MD, PhD, that requires operating rooms designed with flexibility and space to innovate.

"The surgeons who did this 30 to 40 years ago would be blown away if they could see the three-dimensional navigation systems incorporating critical white matter and tumor information that we currently use to safely operate on the brain," said Etame. Nor would they likely have imagined a surgeon controlling robotic instruments from a console in the OR. Or wearing 3D goggles to view high-definition video of the surgical field on an LCD screen. Or intraoperative MRI for real-time tumor imaging during surgery. Or using fluorescent lighting to clearly see the edges of a tumor dyed purple from special dyes ingested by the patient.

Those technological innovations have already arrived. Fitting them into Moffitt Cancer Center's existing operating rooms has been challenging. Etame said the new hospital's surgical suites needed to be larger to accommodate multiple imaging and navigation systems -- and flexible enough to incorporate technologies we haven't yet imagined.

"It's 100% driven by the desire to improve our patient care," said Etame, "and the desire for us to safely take care of as many patients as possible in a timely fashion." For nurses like Itai Gwede, RN, BSN, MSN, OCN, the key for the new hospital was not only larger patient rooms but also more of them. As patient care manager of the Magnolia hospital's 4 South unit, she and her staff treat patients after their surgeries.

"We know patients are out there waiting to come to Moffitt for care," said Gwede. "The new hospital design gives us 32 patient rooms per unit versus the 24 we have now. That alone will allow us to increase the number of patients we serve and reduce wait times." Gwede said uniformity in the patient room size, shape and layout will make delivery of care more efficient. Added technology, like allowing patients to control room temperature with their own smart devices rather than asking staff to assist, will give nurses more time to focus on care. A "family zone" within each patient room, complete with a foldout couch and work area, will allow patients to have their needed support at hand in a hopefully post-COVID world. Even simple touches like windows to allow for more natural light will promote healing.

"When you create a homelike environment, your patients heal better and faster," said Gwede.

For Jason Bever of Moffitt Cancer Center's Patient and Family Advisory Council, another important factor was spaces beyond patient rooms. "We wanted to see open air, warm and inviting spaces within the new hospital," said Bever.

His fellow advisory council member Laura Barber agreed. "This facility is going to be beautiful, with gardens and elements of Florida nature. The new hospital is really going to set a precedent for other hospitals," said Barber. "It's going to be a safe and welcoming place."

It's a welcome that will extend to so many who will be counting on the Cancer Center in years to come.

"This hospital will increase the power and speed with which Moffitt Cancer Center can translate our discoveries to the benefit of all people," said Jack Kolosky, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "It will blend the most advanced medical and surgical technologies with a patient-centered approach that brings us closer to achieving our vision -- to transform cancer care through service, science and partnership."

AdventHealth and Moffitt Cancer Center Join Forces to Expand Cancer Care

Moffitt Cancer Center and AdventHealth are building an outpatient cancer center on the campus of AdventHealth Wesley Chapel in Pasco County. The new outpatient center is expected to open in early 2021 and will provide medical and radiation oncology services as well as cancer screenings and survivorship programs for patients who are post-treatment and in remission.

Additionally, Moffitt Cancer Center and AdventHealth launched their first collaborative cancer clinical trial in Central Florida as the first part of a broad partnership between the organizations to expand cancer treatment and research in Central Florida. The trial is open at AdventHealth Celebration, where a Moffitt-AdventHealth clinical research unit is scheduled to open in late 2020. Care will be provided to patients with solid tumors and blood cancers.

Room to Grow in Pasco

Earlier this year, Moffitt Cancer Center finalized the purchase of 775 acres of former ranch land in Pasco County near the Suncoast Parkway. Plans are still under development, but the site is expected to become home to a life sciences research building as well as space for expanded clinical services. It is hoped the development will become a magnet for biotech companies.