ALEXANDRIA, La., January 20, 2022 – Rapides Cancer Center and American Oncology Network are joining forces to provide advanced, comprehensive and convenient care for patients in Central Louisiana.

A Division of American Oncology Partners, Hematology Oncology Clinic (HOC) at Rapides will begin seeing patients in January in a new clinic inside Rapides Cancer Center located on the campus of Rapides Regional Medical Center. Rapides Cancer Center is a Division of Rapides Regional Medical Center and has been accredited by the Commission on Cancer since 1972.

HOC at Rapides will be part of the American Oncology Network, a growing medical oncology provider with a focus on supporting the long-term viability of cancer treatment in communities across the country. With AON support and ancillary services, HOC at Rapides will provide improved access to advanced oncology care in Central Louisiana. AON includes an expanding team of 105 physicians providing care at numerous locations in 16 states.

The HOC at Rapides team will include Medical Oncologists Michael Castine III, M.D., Pavani Ellipeddi, M.D., Christopher McCanless, M.D., and Gerald Miletello, M.D.; and Nurse Practitioner Kasey Gill. This will be HOC’s third location in Louisiana, joining clinics in Baton Rouge and Zachary.

“This partnership represents a new day in cancer care for our community,” said Jason Cobb, Chief Executive Officer of Rapides Regional Medical Center. “Our community will be able to receive world-class care based on a patient-centered care model without having to leave home. With the recent Rapides Cancer Center renovations and upgrades in technology, we are proud to offer Central Louisiana cancer care on a higher level than ever before.”

Rapides Regional Medical Center is investing $10 million to enhance its cancer program. The upgrades include the first TrueBeam linear accelerator in Central Louisiana to provide the latest technology in radiation oncology. Coming in early 2022, RRMC will open the Rapides Breast and Diagnostic Center and install the first 64-slice PET CT Scanner to be located in a cancer center in Louisiana, allowing oncologists to pinpoint the precise tissue location of tumors.

The 7,700 square-foot HOC at Rapides practice is expected to open in mid-January. The state-of-the-art facility will include six exam rooms and 14 chemotherapy chairs, and will offer infusion therapy, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy, an in-house laboratory performing all routine blood work on-site and an in-house specialty pharmacy. Patients will have access to clinical trials, care management support, including nutrition guidance, Oncology Care Model participation and financial counseling.

“The entire Hematology Oncology Clinic at Rapides team is committed to enhancing the patient experience in order to have a greater impact on those who need care,” said Dr. Castine. “We hope to create the type of experience that patients expect and deserve, placing them at the very pinnacle of cancer care today.”

HOC at Rapides is committed to providing the community with the highest quality care based on research, evidence-based medicine and focused on the whole person. Cancer patients will now have access to a diverse range of services for diagnosis, treatment, clinical trials, survivorship, patient support and amenities under one roof, giving them unparalleled access to comprehensive, integrated cancer care, close to home.

“A key differentiator of AON is flexibility for our partner practices,” said AON Chief Executive Officer Todd Schonherz. “Hematology Oncology Clinic at Rapides is able to leverage AON support for pharmaceutical purchasing strategies, revenue cycle, payer negotiations, human resources and technology to form a strong hospital partnership that will enable practice growth while bringing comprehensive cancer care services to Alexandria residents.”

“With these entities joining forces, it will advance the mission of both organizations,” said Cobb. “Together, we are transforming the future of cancer care in our region and it is our cancer patients who will reap the benefit of this partnership.”