Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cancer Treatment Centers of America welcomes 'stakeholders'


The main meeting room at the Coweta County Fairgrounds was packed Monday as officials of Cancer Treatment Centers of America welcomed its first group of “stakeholders” to their new jobs in Newnan.

“We call our employees stakeholders because our philosophy is that we all have a stake in patient outcomes,” said Kane Dawson, president and CEO for the Southeast Region of Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Dawson said CTCA is “on a journey” and had a plan and vision to accomplish that goal.

Newnan Mayor Keith Brady addressed the crowd, welcoming CTCA to Newnan and saying that he looked forward to a long and successful relationship with CTCA.

Monday’s special guest was Cheryl Chastain, an Ellijay, Ga., resident being treated at CTCA’s southwest facility in Tulsa, Okla.

Chastain told the crowd as soon as she heard CTCA was coming to Newnan, she called Kane Dawson and offered to do anything she could to support the facility and those being treated there. Dawson promptly invited her to address new employees.

Chastain said she had always enjoyed good physical health, had no family history of cancer or other serious diseases, and was happily raising three young children when, in mid-2010 — something changed.

“I wasn’t feeling well,” she said. “I had always been the picture of health so it concerned me.”

After visiting a battery of doctors and undergoing numerous tests, Chastain was diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided to check all her treatment options and, while doing so, came across a documentary featuring a patient who had been treated by CTCA. Chastain liked what she saw.

“They were offering a holistic, patient-centered type of treatment where patients actually have a say in things,” Chastain said. “I liked that and went to CTCA and said, ‘I’m going to fight this, but I’m going to do it my way.’”

She almost got her wish.

Chastain said her biggest fear was chemotherapy. She knew the treatment caused hair loss and severe side effects and decided she didn’t want to deal with that. At her first meeting with her CTCA oncologist, Chastain informed the doctor that she didn’t want chemo.

Chastain said the doctor listened closely and told her to stand up. The doctor embraced Chastain, gave her a huge hug, then smiled sweetly and said, “You’re going to have chemo.”

She did.

“I did great except for the chemo,” Chastain said. “But now my hair’s grown back and I’m feeling great. And I’m especially glad that CTCA is here because I won’t have to go to Tulsa anymore.”

CTCA has hired approximately 170 people to staff its Newnan facility. Approximately 50 of those employees, clinical staffers including nurses, therapists and others involved directly with patient care, started work Monday. CTCA officials said they planned to recruit and hire an additional 100-120 stakeholders between September 2012 and September 2013.

The Newnan facility, located on Newnan Crossing Bypass across from Ashley Park, is scheduled to open Aug. 15. Officials said the new CTCA facility is expected to generate 500 jobs and up to $500 million in economic activity in its first five years of operation.

The all-digital hospital features 25 private inpatient treatment rooms, surgical suites, specialized treatment suites for endoscopy and bronchoscopy, state-of-the-art radiation and infusion therapy departments, rehabilitation and physical therapy department, concierge services, a dining room, chapel and onsite accommodations for outpatients and their families.

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