A state board has approved Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital's request for a cancer center that would be located next to the new North Alabama Medical Center.
On Wednesday the state Certificate of Need Board approved the request from ECM and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System in a 4-1 vote. The proposed facility would expand ECM's current treatment services and add technology and resources from UAB, hospital officials said.
"The community has been asking for this, they want it. I think we do have a precedence of cancer more than some other areas - I dont know why that is. We also have more of an elderly population which can lend itself to cancer," said North Alabama Medical Center CEO Russell Pigg.
The facility would be located adjacent to the North Alabama Medical Center, which is scheduled to open on Veterans Drive in Florence later this year. The new medical center will replace ECM Hospital.
"Bringing a cancer center just makes sense," Pigg said. "It's something else that people can just stay home and get there care for. We want to bring what other communities have to the Shoals area."
The cancer center would provide medical oncology and infusion therapy, along with other cancer treatments. Hospital officials said it would also let patients continue care with their oncologist and allow treatment plans to be administered in Florence.