Oncology center to close after all

Oncology center to close after all

11 people work at Northern Rockies Radiation Center

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Despite promises to the contrary, the Northern Rockies Radiation Oncology Center will close this fall after 23 years of operation.

St. Vincent Healthcare announced Tuesday that the radiation treatment center’s last day of business will be Oct. 31.

The center was a partnership between St. Vincent and Billings Clinic from 1987 until last year, when Billings Clinic withdrew from the agreement to offer its own radiation services at a new cancer center on its downtown campus.

At the time, both hospitals pledged that the center would remain open. St. Vincent took over operations on Jan. 1, 2009.

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, the hospital said its cancer patients will begin receiving radiation treatment at Frontier Cancer Centers and Blood Institute in November.

Frontier is a new cancer center being built by the doctors who own the Hematology-Oncology Centers of the Northern Rockies, an affiliate of St. Vincent. It is set to open in August at Grand Avenue and 32nd Street West.

Eleven people work at Northern Rockies Radiation Oncology Center. It was not immediately clear if they would be offered jobs at Frontier.

A hospital spokeswoman said the workers would be offered career counseling through St. Vincent’s human resources department and have been encouraged to apply for open positions at the hospital.

Meanwhile, St. Vincent is exploring what to do with the building at 1041 N. 29th St.

St. Vincent and Billings Clinic announced in January that they would dissolve an MRI partnership located in the same building by the end of this year.

Thirty-three people who work for the Billings MRI Center, which opened in 1988, will probably be offered jobs at the two hospitals. Both facilities plan to begin offering their own MRI services.

The Big Horn Basin Radiation Oncology Center in Cody, a sister facility to the Billings radiation center, will remain open.

Contact Diane Cochran at dcochran@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

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