Wellmont Health System cancer patients who live in Johnson City will no longer have to travel outside Washington County to receive treatment.
“We really believe that patients who suffer from cancer and other blood disorders, they have a hard enough journey without having to travel long distances for their care, and we know that patients who live in this community, they want a choice close to home and we’re proud that we can offer that today,” said Wellmont Cancer Institute Vice President Sue Lindenbusch.
The institute opened its first Johnson City office at 302 Wesley St., Suite 3, earlier this month. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday morning.
The new office is located in one of the former offices of McLeod Cancer & Blood Center, which closed its doors in November following a federal investigation that centered around misbranded cancer medications.
“We also know that with some changes that have happened in the community with the oncology world that we really thought it’s a great time to bring our treatment options to Johnson City,” Lindenbusch said. “We are so proud of what we do. Our goal is to always provide exceptional service to our patients and quality treatment, so we thought it was the right thing to do.”
The office has only been open for a little more than two weeks, but it is already providing a number of services such as oncology, hematology, genetic counseling, clinical trials and infusions, including chemotherapy, hydrations and injections.
Drs. Jamal Maatouk and Fadi Abu-Shahin, both of whom are board-certified oncologists, will act as the new office’s physicians. Other caregivers include nurse practitioner Wendy Vogel, board-certified and licensed genetic counselor Debbie Pencarinha, and clinical trial program coordinator Teresa Bailey.
Maatouk said the Johnson City office is an extension of the high-quality care that’s offered in the cancer institute’s other facilities in the region.
“Compassionate care in our Wellmont Cancer Institute is now in Johnson City and compassionate care in our Wellmont Cancer Institute is our health care priority,” she said. “As oncologists today, our only goal is to fully fill a human being’s existence and as oncologists at WCI, we promise to respect our patients strengths and weaknesses with a strong will and firm desire to alleviate their distress and their pain.”
Johnson City patients will also have access to other cancer institute facilities, including the Wellmont Breast Center locations in Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol. Other forms of cancer can also be treated at the Christine LaGuardia Phillips Cancer Center at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, the J.D. and Lorraine Nicewonder Cancer Center at Bristol Regional Medical Center and the Southwest Virginia Cancer Center in Norton, Va.