Guest Opinions

Tri-Cities Cancer Center continues despite two founding members withdrawing

Tri-Cities Cancer Center 25th Anniversary

Learn more about The Tri-Cities Cancer Center from this 25th anniversary celebration video on the cancer treatment facility in Kennewick.
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Learn more about The Tri-Cities Cancer Center from this 25th anniversary celebration video on the cancer treatment facility in Kennewick.

Throughout its 25 year history, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center has become the world-class cancer center our community deserves.

Our team emphasizes prevention and early detection of cancer and our providers offer world-class cancer treatment and survivorship for all residents throughout our region. We are now expanding and opening a satellite office in Hermiston to better serve the patients in northeastern Oregon, and are looking forward to the next 25 years of caring for all people in the region.

“Cancer knows no boundaries. Let’s build a Tri-Cities Cancer Center for all of the people and families in Pasco, Kennewick, Richland, Hermiston, Prosser, and Othello. Let’s provide medical help to those in need,” said Billie Jane Lampson in 1993.

Mrs. Lampson is considered by many as the visionary who led the grassroots effort to build a state-of-the-art cancer center in our community to serve every patient. Her commitment to improving the quality and availability of cancer care in the Tri-Cities and her call to leaders in the region to join and support her vision is beyond comparison.

In 1993, hospital and community leaders committed to build this special community asset, and this commitment positioned the Tri-Cities Cancer Center to provide vital cancer care services.

The vision and need for the Cancer Center mobilized community leaders, physicians, and our three local hospitals. Each hospital contributed $415,000 and the community contributed $2.1 million to open the Center in 1994. The founders identified the importance of being a nonprofit to reinvest proceeds back into the Cancer Center to add additional equipment, facilities, and programs to benefit patients and the community.

And since the beginning, the hospitals have offered their expertise, but never needed to contribute more money to the Center, nor did they ever seek income distributions from the Center.

The generosity of our community continued with gifts totaling over $20 million over the next 25 years to bring critical resources and programs for patients and their families including nurse navigation, social work and chaplaincy services, cancer screenings, new equipment, and expanded facilities that the Cancer Center could not afford to do. A generous community working as partners with our local hospitals and doctors produced world class cancer care here at home, where people want to be treated, supported by family and friends.

But times change.

Nonprofit Kadlec Regional Medical Center affiliated with nonprofit Providence St. Joseph Health in 2014, and the Lourdes Health hospital and Trios Health hospital assets were sold in 2018 by the Lourdes’ corporation and the Kennewick Public Hospital District to LifePoint Health, a for-profit company based in Tennessee.

Neither Lourdes nor the Kennewick Public Hospital District operates a local hospital any longer. Now, Lourdes and the Kennewick Public Hospital District have sent notices to withdraw as owners of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center and have asked for a payment with this withdrawal.

Kadlec Regional Medical Center, however, will remain a member of the Cancer Center stating that “Kadlec is committed to the Tri-Cities Cancer Center as its organizers envisioned and we are proud to continue being a part of this organization.”

And so, the vision continues. Your Tri-Cities Cancer Center is committed to providing world-class cancer care for all patients, all physicians, and all hospitals throughout the entire region together with Kadlec Regional Medical Center and our community who we thank for your ongoing support!

Chuck DeGooyer has been the CEO of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center for the past 6 years and was the staff leader that opened the Center in 1994.