Moffitt Cancer Center opens with 4 times the space
TAMPA - It doesn't look like a treatment center. "The front lobby reminds me of a nice hotel entrance," said Jayne Rengifo, a breast cancer patient who visited the Moffitt Cancer Center at International Plaza on its opening day Friday. "It's beautiful." The design of the building and the way patients navigate are streamlined and modern.When patients check in, their palms are scanned, calling up their electronic record. They are given "care passes," plastic badges that track their location around the hospital as they move from where blood is drawn to where they receive radiation therapy. The original Moffitt Cancer Center, opened in 1986, is on the campus of the University of South Florida. It is named after H. Lee Moffitt, a Florida state representative who survived cancer and pushed for the center's creation. Moffitt later expanded to Tampa General Hospital, where it operated a clinic in a one-story, 13,000-square-foot building until the lease there expired Thursday. The new location at International Plaza was chosen to serve patients from South Tampa and Pinellas County. "We did a lot of moving last night," Nancy Ziel, administrative director of satellite operations, said Friday. "The reason we left is that we wanted and needed more space." Moffitt is leasing the two-story, 50,000-square-foot building from Tampa International Airport for $373,000 a year. Once occupied by Continental Airlines, the building has undergone more than $20 million in renovations. The halls are clean, but not antiseptic. Wood detailing and large photos of flowers decorate the walls. The lighting is soft, but bright. An area where patients receive chemotherapy was designed to let in natural light and give patients a view outside. The International Plaza location offers the same services as Moffitt North, except for procedures in which patients must be sedated. "We wanted to offer advanced treatment technology to patients in South Tampa," said Sarah Hoffe, chief of radiation oncology at Moffitt International Plaza. While the equipment at the new center is state of the art, Hoffe stressed the treatment team as its main feature. The team includes a panel of specialists who meet with a patient at the same time, enabling them to development treatment strategies quickly and as a group. Rengifo said she is happy to make the drive from her home in St. Petersburg. "I felt like I was getting the best care," she said.
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