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Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center at Arlington shows off remodeled facility

From left, eight-year-old Gideon Martin enjoys the chairs of the Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center at Arlington with his mother Vickie, whos undergone treatment for lympoedema and had a thyroid lump removed. -
From left, eight-year-old Gideon Martin enjoys the chairs of the Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center at Arlington with his mother Vickie, whos undergone treatment for lympoedema and had a thyroid lump removed.
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ARLINGTON This is my home, said Arlington resident Vickie Martin, about the Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center at Arlington. Theyre like my family.
Martin has been a patient of the cancer care center, located on the third floor of the Cascade Valley Hospital, for more than two years. She stopped by the facilitys open house April 17, which showcased its recently remodeled exam rooms, infusion center and nurses station.
Peggy Perry explained that the Cascade Valley Hospital had agreed to remodel the facility, in exchange for the Skagit Valley Hospital assuming its operations in July of 2006.
Perry, director of oncology for the Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center, elaborated that the remodel involved converting the two rooms of the infusion center into one, and changing the equipment in the two exam rooms.
Chemo was conducted in two separate converted hospital rooms, both of which were dark, Perry said. Nurses were running from room to room. It wasnt conducive to good medical care. Now, its all in one room which is much brighter and more inviting. Patients love how open it is.
She added that the exam rooms had also been converted hospital rooms, but by removing their beds and replacing them with inclined tables, the remodel had made them more practical and efficient.
While Perry touted the changes in the cancer care facility, she also assured her visitors that the cancer care staff would stay the same and cancer care programs have expanded.
Patients can also take advantage of our Regional Cancer Care Center in Mount Vernon, Perry said. We offer services such as radiation therapy, support groups and even acupuncture.
Gregg Davidson, chief executive officer of the Skagit Valley Hospital, deemed their Regional Cancer Care Center at Arlington an effective means of meeting the needs of a growing and aging local population.
This collaboration makes sense for both us and the Cascade Valley Hospital, said Davidson, who pointed out that the Skagit Valley Hospital has access to the resources of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I look forward to watching this program continue to grow.
Snohomish County Public Hospital District 3 Administrator Clark Jones said that the Skagit Valley Hospital maintains a more comprehensive program than the Cascade Valley Hospital could.
Im thankful that theyve helped us keep this program in our community, by stepping in to run it, and Im glad that weve kept the doctors that are best for our patients, Jones said.
Dr. George Gjerset has served as a medical oncologist in the Arlington area for 11 years, and hes equally pleased to remain in this community.
Gjerset worked in medical administration and research for nearly a decade before he decided that he really wanted to be involved in medical care. After his stints in larger hospitals, he prefers the atmosphere of Cascade Valley Hospital.
Its different in the big city, Gjerset said. Its more about politics and less about medicine. Here, its a more sane and collegial environment, with a supportive community and staff. Our staff is as experienced as a bigger hospital, and theyve got a better work ethic. We really dont deserve them. We wont let anyone leave without feeling like theyve been heard, because we want them to feel better than they did when they came in.
Former City Council member Dick Larsen was treated for colon cancer at Cascade Valley Hospital in 2004, and he stopped by to check out the Skagit Valley Regional Cancer Care Center.
Its really changed, said Larsen. I was happy with the service I got, but Im glad I dont have to come here anymore.
As for Martin, she also appreciates the more open, brightly-lit infusion center, especially when shes bringing her four children along with her.
Ive got my chair, thats nice and comfy, and I can wave and talk to the other patients, said Martin, whos undergone treatment for lympoedema and had a thyroid lump removed. I could drive to Everett, but Id rather stay here. I enjoy living here. Its my second home.

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