CARTI to open oncology clinic in Camden

CARTI Cancer Center in El Dorado
CARTI Cancer Center in El Dorado

Cancer care provider CARTI Cancer Center will open a clinic on the Ouchita County Medical Center campus, according to CEO Adam Head.

Head made the announcement to stakeholders in the Camden community along with OCMC president and CEO Peggy Abbott during a luncheon at Postmaster's Grill on Wednesday, March 27.

Abbott said, "Adam and I began talking approximately one year ago. He reached out to me with interest in bringing CARTI to Camden and was wondering if we would have any interest in that. Well, I didn't have to think for a millisecond that we definitely wanted CARTI."

Abbott also noted, "It's been quite a few years since we have had direct oncology care in a big way here in Camden."

A handout for the event presented the cost breakdown for bringing CARTI to OCMC which includes $122,000 for the renovation and construction, $11,500 for medical equipment, $44,000 other supplies and equipment for a total cost of $177,500.

Abbott told the assembled crowd that the efforts would not include funds from the hospital, which has recently asked the County Quorum Court to approve a sales tax increase.

"Our partnership is not that they're looking to us the hospital for monetary support, because we simply don't have it to give and I wanted you to clearly understand that the $177,000 that he mentioned will be coming from their organization and through some fundraising efforts."

Head said that Dr. Naveeen Yarlagadda, known affectionately as Dr. Y to his patients, hopes to be at the clinic every other week.

With the good news, Head also brought sobering facts with him, " "There are over 500 residents of Camden that are going to have a cancer diagnosis this year, that's straight from the American Cancer Society."

However, he said those patients would have convenient access to service and treatment without having to drive to Little Rock.

"We have been excited to be able to have funding that we got through some State funding to be able to fully outfit CARTI Cancer Center in El Dorado," he said, " and like I mentioned in our focus on South Arkansas, the vision there was to be able to have a space that's robust enough where patients wouldn't have to drive to Little Rock. So it's no coincidence we're talking about this clinic here in Camden. Being able to have a full Comprehensive Cancer Center with everything that might be needed from a radiation and oncology standpoint, a screening standpoint and any of the services that we can bring in Camden that's only 30 minutes up the road."

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