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New cancer treatment center may be built in El Paso

Hospital bed (credit: KFOX14/CBS4){p}{/p}
Hospital bed (credit: KFOX14/CBS4)

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A new cancer treatment center could be coming to El Paso.

The Texas Legislature is expected to spend about $65 million to help build the center which will be a collaborative effort between the Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso and University Medical Center of El Paso, according to State Representative Mary E. González and Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

The funding is included in the state budget approved by the Texas Senate on Friday. The budget will need to be approved by the House before it heads to Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Cancer patients often have to travel to Houston or other cities to get advanced medical care. The travel is expensive, grueling, and complicates treatment,” said González. “My heart breaks when I see members of our community boarding planes and leaving their families to they can get the healthcare they need.”

González said the funding is the result of a two-year effort between herself, the El Paso legislative delegation, budget researchers and community leaders at UMC and TTUHSC.

“I’m so happy our effort has paid off. The creation of the cancer center will be transformative for healthcare and education. Soon, cancer patients will remain at home and receive state-of-the-art care,” González said. “The El Paso legislative delegation pulled together with other community leaders to make this happen. It is truly a major advancement for our community.

UMC President and CEO Jacob Cintron issued the following statement:

We are thankful for the passage of significant funding that will bring more comprehensive cancer care for all in our region. This was a hallmark project in our bond proposal last fall and we are delighted that our delegation and their colleagues share our priority of bringing a cancer center to El Paso. El Paso is one of the largest cities in the nation without a comprehensive cancer center.
This funding begins the journey to fill an incredible need and minimize/begin to eliminate the need for El Pasoans to seek care elsewhere. As we have throughout the last 50 years, we look forward to expanding our strong partnership with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso in the success of the cancer center.
We join all El Paso in gratitude to our delegation for championing this initiative, especially Vice Chair of Appropriations Mary Gonzalez for leading this effort and Senator Cesar Blanco for his work in the Senate. This would never have been possible without the support and commitment of our El Paso County Commissioners Court and the UMC Board of Managers.

We are working to learn more about when the center's total cost, when it is expected to open and where it will be located.

Check back for updates.

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