City of Hope Expands to Orange County
// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
To meet the expected demand for highly specialized cancer services in Orange County, City of Hope has opened four cancer treatment sites and is currently building a 190,000-square-foot cancer center, scheduled to open next year. A separate specialty hospital will be ready to open its doors in 2025. The total investment in the Orange County cancer campus is projected to be $1 billion.
Getting a cancer diagnosis is bad enough. Having to jump on the freeway and drive two hours each way to access care adds significantly to the stress. But that’s what many residents of Orange County, California did when they needed highly specialized cancer care. “Your first shot is your best shot, because it’s really important to get your treatment right in the beginning,” says Nisha Morris, vice president of marketing communications for City of Hope Orange County. Given the complexity of cancer, it is not uncommon for community doctors to misdiagnose cancer, or miss it altogether, according to Morris.
“Cancer is a disease that affects one in three Americans,” she says. One of 51 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S, City of Hope is expanding regionally beyond its base in Los Angeles County, where it has provided cancer care for 108 years, into Orange County. “Currently, 20 percent of the population has to leave Orange County for highly specialized cancer care,” Morris says.
The expansion project, under the leadership of Annette Walker, president of City of Hope Orange County, was launched three years ago before there were any City of Hope facilities in Orange County. “People knew about City of Hope, but they didn’t really understand how it was differentiated from a community hospital,” Morris says.
Educating the community was a top priority for the first 18 months. “We didn’t even have anything open, so we had to educate people,” she says. The strategy has been successful. Today, Morris says, “we have a significant presence in the market. People know about City of Hope and are excited about the innovation and level of care we provide.”
In September 2018, the leadership team began a comprehensive market assessment to better understand the needs of the community and decided to substantially increase the scope of the planned expansion into Orange County based on its findings.