Two of the Rochester area's largest cancer centers are working toward joining forces. The Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Pluta Cancer Center have taken the first steps towards a merger.
The move was initiated by the Pluta Cancer Center. Earlier this year, it began searching for a health care partner to ensure that Pluta remains a viable source for cancer treatment in the years to come.
"Our board and our leadership team and our management team wanted to be proactive and strategic in looking at different business models that would help insure that Pluta would be here for years to come and that we look for the best way to preserve our mission. Not only have we done that with today's announcement, but we are really in a position where we're going to be able to enhance our mission and really increase our level of care to cancer patients in our community," said Kelly McCormick-Sullivan, Pluta Cancer Center CEO.
The merger will benefit both the Pluta and Wilmot Cancer Centers. Pluta has served as an independent oncology center since the closing of Genesee Hospital, while Wilmot has been a fixture on the URMC campus. Pluta will become part of the URMC but will remain at its current location in Henrietta.
"Pluta will benefit by being part of a larger organization. Its patients will have access to more clinical trials. They'll be able to recruit more individuals because the Medical Center has training programs in medical oncology and radiation oncology,” said Dr. Brad Berk, CEO of URMC. “For the Medical Center, we gain Pluta reputation and its way of taking care of patients. It's a smaller, more cozy environment. The Pluta family and the people there have really created that atmosphere."
And it's that comfort level that patients say they enjoy about Pluta. They say the staff there treats its patients as if they are part of the family.
"You're always known as who you are and a person. It's not a place where you get a number and stand in line and no one speaks to you for an hour. It's always contact with people from the moment you come in,” said Joan Zummo, former Pluta patient.
The proposal needs to be approved by the University of Rochester board of trustees. The administration at Pluta is confident the merger will be complete by the end of the year.