ROCK SPRINGS — Keeping people at home is the goal of Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. On Thursday, officials celebrated this new partnership.
Jerry Klein, CEO of Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, explained it is a partnership that will not only benefit MHSC, but it will also help the Huntsman, county residents and residents in surrounding counties.
Klein told those in attendance the boards of both organizations must have thought they were crazy when they first started talking about the partnership. Klein said they were able to get it done in the end, calling the joining of the organizations a “remarkable accomplishment.”
While the affiliation was just recently announced, the two organizations have worked closely together for some time. Klein said the Huntsman assisted in the design, staffing and other details surrounding the development of the MHSC Cancer Center.
The Huntsman partnership may be new, but the affiliation with the University of Utah has been in place for some time. This has also been key to bringing services and the Huntsman to the area. David Entwistle, CEO of the University of Utah, thanked Klein, calling him a “tireless advocate” for bringing the best health care to Sweetwater County residents.
Entwistle told of how he started his career in cancer treatment. He explained how early on he learned cancer treatment is about having the right care, at the right time, in the right place. He said this partnership accomplishes that for Sweetwater County residents.
Three and a half years ago, before local oncologist Dr. Jad Joseph Wakim joined MHSC, there was not an oncologist on staff, let alone a brand new state-of-the-art cancer center. Wakim said it shows the progress made at MHSC and called Klein an “agent of change.”
While Dr. John Sweetenham, Executive Medical Director and Senior Director of Clinical Affairs at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, said the partnership between the two entities was strong, the new affiliation takes the relationship to new levels.
“It allows us to explore partnerships in new ways,” Sweetenham said.
Sweetenham told a story of a local area resident who has been a Huntsman patient. He said as they have been monitoring his situation, it has become evident he will need treatment.
Instead of the elderly gentleman driving Interstate 80 for treatment and then back home following treatment, he now can have treatment at home. In closing, he said the affiliation makes it better in Sweetwater County for those who are starting the fight.