Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare / Bourland Radiation Oncology Center

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Story by Lynne Hayes

World-Class Radiation Treatment Center Opens in Central Missouri

A cancer diagnosis requiring multiple radiation treatments is stressful enough. Now imagine realizing the closest place to receive those treatments is more than 60 miles one way from your home. For residents of rural Central Missouri that was the case until just a few months ago.

In December 2023, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare (GVMH) in Clinton, Missouri, opened the Dr. James and JoAnn Bourland Radiation Oncology Center, named to honor the couple who generously helped make the dream a reality.

The centerpiece of the new facility is Varian Medical Systems’ TrueBeam Linear Accelerator, one of the most advanced medical linear accelerators available today. This high precision, image-guided radiotherapy can target tumors anywhere in the body, without affecting surrounding anatomy.

The community was already fortunate to have cancer treatment options at its existing Cancer Center, but, as Oncology Director, Race Kastl, explained, more than half of all cancer patients also require some form of radiation therapy as part of their treatment plan, along with chemotherapy and surgery.

“With the opening of our new Radiation Oncology Center, it enables us and other area oncology specialists and groups to offer a full suite of treatment programs, closer to home.”

In addition to state-of-the art technology, GVMH has a team of nurse navigators, medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists and other specialists. Together, they provide a unique, compassionate program of care during every stage of treatment — and beyond.

“We’ve lifted our cancer care to world-class status,” said GVMH’s CEO, Craig Thompson. “We saw too many people choosing not to receive radiation because of the stress of traveling many miles or worrying about childcare or taking too much time from work. This was not acceptable. No one should have to make that choice.”

GVMH primarily serves three counties, Henry, Benton, and St. Clair, with patients and families hailing mainly from Clinton, Warsaw, Windsor, and Osceola, cities where they also have primary care clinic locations.

Since 1972, Central Missouri’s rural communities have looked to GVMH to meet their healthcare needs. Today, in a time when so many rural hospitals and clinics have been forced to close or reduce services due to funding, staffing shortages and other impacts, Thompson is pleased that GVMH remains strong – and continues to grow its services.

“These are challenging times for rural health care providers,” admitted Thompson. “What continues to keep us viable is the strong support of our communities and the trust they place in us to care for them.”



A Community Shows Its Remarkable Support

No surprise, making the Bourland Radiation Oncology Center a reality required a substantial financial investment.

GVMH had explored the project’s viability for more than seven years, but it was clear the price tag was too much for them to shoulder alone. Finally, recalled Thompson, the Board suggested that GVMH turn to the community for help, and a capital campaign was launched.

“We set a goal of raising $6 million and we ultimately raised $12 million,” Thompson shared. “In the end, the bulk of what we raised came from individuals and local businesses who contributed their personal finances, with the rest coming from city, county and state grants, as well as private foundations.”

“We had never performed a capital campaign in our whole history,” he continued, “but we went out to our community, shared the vision, and, with total transparency explained that we simply couldn’t take the financial risk ourselves. Individuals and local businesses stepped up immediately. It was the most humbling and gratifying experience I’ve ever had.”


An Impressive ‘Patient-First’ Design

According to Thompson, technology wasn’t the only consideration in the facility’s design. “We absolutely wanted this design to speak to the emotional, mental, and physical needs of our patients and their families.”

To that end, it was imperative to construct a freestanding building with its own close-in parking lot.

“There’s nothing more daunting for visitors coming for treatment than having to navigate through a maze of cars searching for the right entrance,” Thompson said. “No matter where you park, you’re just a few steps from the front door.”

Once inside, he added, visitors will immediately feel a sense of calm and compassion. From the sheer beauty of the facility to the welcoming smiles of helpful staff, the Bourland Radiation Oncology Center is filled with a sense of healing and hope.

Thompson and his planning team also considered in their design the stress patients typically have while undergoing radiation. To alleviate this, the Center designed the linear accelerator suite to be a place of comfort. As patients undergo their treatments, they’re treated to the Skylite™ in-ceiling video wall which displays soothing videos and images to calm nerves.



A Staff Second to None

“The latest technology can’t heal alone. That takes an amazing staff,” noted Thompson. “They are what makes this new Radiation Oncology Center, in fact all of our cancer care at GVMH is something truly special.”


Dr. Matthew Mallory

“Many of our physicians and medical staff have come to us with years of experience because they wanted to be a part of something they helped build from the ground up,” he added. “They had wish lists, and we worked hard to build a facility that met their wishes in terms of services and delivery. Their input hasn’t just made us better, it’s made us the very best in the state.”

GVMH’s mission of providing “Our Golden Standard of Care” is something the expert cancer care team lives every day. Thompson describes it as, “a very personal, very compassionate experience that can be felt at every level, from the top on down.”

The Center’s Medical Director, Board-Certified Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Matthew Mallory, agrees.

“At GVMH, we combine cutting-edge technology with personalized care, ensuring each patient receives the most effective and compassionate radiation therapy available. Everyone is treated as family here with each care plan tailored to individual needs.”


Cancer Care You Need Close to Home

“We’re delighted to complete our goal of delivering the full range of top-level cancer care to Central Missouri,” Thompson shared.


For more information about GVMH, visit: gvmh.org

and follow them on social media: @choosegvmh

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