HOA Breaks Ground for New Comprehensive Cancer Center in Camillus

New facility expected to open in late 2024

By Stefan Yablonski

Event on May 8 marked the ground breaking of the new 21,000-square foot comprehensive cancer center in Camillus.

Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY has outgrown its Onondaga Hill location, according to Maryann Roefaro, CEO.

Construction has begun on a 21,000-square foot comprehensive cancer center in Camillus.

Located at 5490 Cobbler Way, the new center will replace Onondaga Hill facility.

“All the site work is being done right now. We hope to move in around September, October of 2024,” she said.

“We’ve been around for 41 years. Our main building is in Brittonfield Parkway in East Syracuse and it’s a 65,000 square foot facility. We have another which is adjacent to Upstate at Community General Hospital which is 13,000 square feet. We will be selling that to Upstate. In addition, we have a practice in Auburn and a wellness center in Camillus,” she added.

When they move into the new building, they’ll relocate from the wellness center; that will be in the basement of the new building,

“We have 20 physicians and about probably close to 30 nurse practitioners, physician assistants and then we have a total of about 320 employees, maybe 350. It’s a big place,” Roefaro said. “We’ll have about 35 employees over in our Camillus site — three full-time doctors and we might have some other physicians that come in and out. It’s a full-service comprehensive site.”

They will have radiation oncology, medical oncology, 29 little cubicles for infusion (including non-cancer infusion) and:

• Medical imaging

• Nutrition counseling for cancer patients

• Social work services

• Clinical research

• Laboratory services

• Pharmacy services

• Wellness center offering holistic care and classes for cancer patients and the community

“It’ll be a comprehensive site and we are very excited to be in that area,” Roefaro said.

“The reason why we are doing this project is because our building next to the hospital — we’ve grown out of that 13,000 square feet — and we have especially grown out of the parking. We have parking issues all the time with our patients,” she continued. “So it is time for us, and our physicians obviously agree, it is important to make this commitment.”

This all comes out of their operating budget.

“Providing our patients with the best possible care includes a modern, spacious location where they can conveniently and cost-effectively receive all their cancer care, rather than traveling to different locations,” Roefaro explained.

“Our number of cancer patients grows every year by at least 10%,” she added.

The really good news about cancer is it’s becoming a chronic disease, she said.

“People are living longer; we have a lot more treatments available. It’s transitioning to more of a chronic disease rather than an acute,” Roefaro said. “The last 10 years have had treatments on personalized medicine and genetic testing and sequencing of tumors, therapies. It’s just been amazing. It’s causing more physicians around the country to be more interested in oncology, I think. We have been very blessed to get the best physicians here.”

What is success?

“Our goal is to offer the highest level, state-of-the-art technology and treatments, while meeting the emotional needs of our patients and their families.

“There is the individual success of patients, their ability to resolve their cancer illness and live normal lives — that’s for sure one success. But we don’t really measure that. We do have many measures of quality that we use. I would say how we really measure success is do we attract the best physicians when we have an opening? The answer is yes. Do we attract the brightest employees, nurses — yes. That means we’re successful,” Roefaro said. “Do we have good patient satisfaction where they are happy with their care and happy with their physicians, trust their physicians? Yes. That’s what I look at. I like to say we’re an employer and a provider — that’s how I measure success. I think we are successful; we have been for 41 years. We have a wonderful culture here. We see about 70% of CNY adult cancer market.”

Hematology-Oncology Associates has social workers, support groups and more.

“Our mission is really for the mind, body and spirit for patients dealing with cancer. Those three components are everything. It’s not just about putting drugs into someone. It’s also about helping them cope with their illness, having them trust us through their journey and provide them support,” she said. “If, God forbid, it’s an end-of-life situation, we want to make sure we’re there for them. It’s really the whole gamut. It’s not just chemotherapy or radiation – we try to look at the whole person. We absolutely handle more than just the physical aspect of cancer.”