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The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board voted 6-0 to approve the University of Chicago Medicine’s certificate of need (CON) application Tuesday to build a comprehensive breast imaging facility in Orland Park.
The vote, which took place during the regulatory board’s meeting in Bolingbrook, clears the way for the academic health system to expand its specialized breast imaging services in the south suburbs. The dedicated suite will provide screening and diagnostic mammography in a 3,500-square-foot facility as part of a joint venture with Solis Mammography.
Construction on the new suite is expected to begin in September and should be complete in 2020.
“We are partnering with Solis Mammography, which has extensively researched the barriers to regular screenings and developed a model for effective patient-centric care,” said Kenneth Polonsky, MD, executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago. “By combining Solis Mammography’s model with our outstanding cancer program and oncology team, who will interpret imaging results and manage quality, we will be able to provide patients with integrated mammography care.”
UChicago Medicine opened its Orland Park outpatient facility in late 2016 and left portions of the top floors as shell space to allow for future expansion.
The new $5.7 million dedicated breast imaging center will be built on the fourth floor and will include a full line of radiology equipment, including a 3D mammography machine that uses SmartCurve comfort technology paddles that follow the shape of a woman’s breast for extra comfort. It will also have breast ultrasound services for diagnostic scans and biopsy targeting, as well as a bone density scanner. UChicago Medicine currently offers limited mammography services at the location, but women who need more comprehensive, diagnostic care have to travel to the health system’s main location in Hyde Park.
“We are gratified that state officials supported our proposal to bring much-needed breast imaging services to women in south suburban communities,” said Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. “This self-contained suite will help address the disparate distribution of resources in the region while removing barriers that prevent women from getting regular screenings as part of a comprehensive preventative health program.
According to the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, the Chicago area has some of the lowest breast cancer screening rates in the nation. That’s in part due to an inequitable distribution of highly skilled breast imaging experts in many communities in the city and the surrounding suburbs.
Dallas-based Solis Mammography is a national leader in patient-centric breast imaging. The company, which performs more than 750,000 screenings a year at its 60 locations, is known for providing a warm, inviting environment and designing a unique practice model to encourage women to get regular breast screenings, which leads to earlier detection of breast cancer.
“Our goal for this project is to combine a patient-centric approach to the delivery of mammography services with the expertise of one of the nation’s best cancer hospitals,” said Alexander Sardiña, MD, chief medical officer of Solis Mammography. “Working together, UChicago Medicine and Solis can provide patients with mammography care that is at the forefront of medicine.”