MCALLEN, Texas – Cancer patients will receive first rate treatment in the Rio Grande Valley once the UT Health RGV Cancer and Surgery Center is built. 

This is the view of UT-Rio Grande Valley President Guy Bailey. 

Asked by veteran broadcast Ron Whitlock what new services Valley families can expect as a result of the McAllen Academic Medical Campus UTRGV is developing with oncology advisory services provided by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Bailey, pictured above, said:

“First rate cancer treatment. We will be able to do the vast majority of treatment for cancer here in the Rio Grande Valley. Only the most severe cases, the most unusual cases would have to go outside of it. But what you go to Houston or to San Antonio for right now you’ll be able to do in the Valley. We’re very proud of that,” Bailey told Whitlock and Ron Whitlock Reports.

Last week, the University of Texas System Board of Regents approved $145.7 million in funding for the UT Health RGV Cancer and Surgery Center project. 

Bailey said this marks a significant step in the continued transformation of the Rio Grande Valley through education and access to health care that will have tremendous benefits for Valley families.

Sen. Hinojosa’s perspective

Last year, state Sen. Juan Hinojosa joined Bailey in announcing the Center which will include oncology advisory services provided by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

The UT Health RGV Cancer and Surgery Center is part of the first phase of development at UTRGV’s McAllen Academic Medical Campus. The campus is being developed on 38 acres land located on the south side of Pecan Boulevard between Jackson and McColl roads.

Hinojosa said the 144,231 square-foot Center will allow for comprehensive cancer and surgical services that are on the leading edge of medicine by serving as an incubator to train the physicians and scientist leaders of the future. 

He said the three story Center will include a radiation oncology clinic, medical oncology clinic, diagnostic imaging suite, rehabilitation therapy, ambulatory surgery center, and an orthopedics clinic.

“I am pleased that the UT System Board of Regents voted to approve funding for this important and significant project for the Rio Grande Valley and all South Texas,” Hinojosa said.

Hinojosa said Valley elected officials, academics, and health executives started working on the project several years ago. 

“In fact, the concept was first proposed by DHR Health’s leadership to create a partnership with M.D. Anderson,” Hinojosa said. “In an op-ed I wrote in March 2020, I mentioned our efforts to increase partnerships with the best entities in the field, such as M.D. Anderson.”

Hinojosa said he and others will “continue working to secure the partnerships and investments necessary so that in the future our cancer patients in South Texas will have access to top notch facilities and world-class doctors — here at home.”

But, he pointed out, “the approval for funding from the UT System Board of Regents will make the UT Health Cancer and Surgery Center a reality.”

Hinojosa added: “Approving the allocation of the funds necessary for this Center advances the goal of expanding access to educational opportunities and medical education which will increase access to care for our Valley families and help decrease our physician shortage in the region. I appreciate the leadership of Dr. Guy Bailey and the work being done by School of Medicine Dean Dr. Michael Hocker to ensure Senate Bill 24 continues transforming the Valley by increasing access to high quality care and facilities to benefit all of South Texas.”

Senate Bill 24, authored by Hinojosa, set up UT-Rio Grande Valley and the UT-Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. 

In a news release, Hinojosa explained where the funding was coming from. The news release stated: 

“The UT System Board of Regents authorized the expenditure of $145,723,401 with funding of $49,493,963 from Permanent University Fund (PUF) Bond Proceeds, $44,922,833 from Tuition Revenue Bond (TRB) Proceeds which was supported by the Rio Grande Valley Legislative Delegation and approved by the Texas Legislature in 2021, $40,000,000 from Revenue Financing System (RFS) Bond Proceeds, $10,306,605 from Designated Funds, and $1,000,000 from Gifts.”

The news release added: “Up until 2013, UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville were not PUF eligible schools. With the passage of Senate Bill 24, UTRGV was created as a new university and was given access to these funds.” 

City of McAllen donation

Meanwhile, City of McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos says he and the McAllen City Commission recently approved a $1 million donation to the UTRGV for the development of the cancer research center. Villalobos said the donation will be added to the funding recently approved by the UT System Board of Regents for this endeavor.

“I would like to congratulate UTRGV President Dr. Bailey for his leadership in helping to make a cancer research center in the Rio Grande Valley a reality,” Villalobos said.  

“This research institute will have a tremendous and positive impact on the health and well-being of the entire region, opening up our community to not only having medical students trained here in a medically underserved area, but also, allowing our residents the opportunity to be a part of cancer medical research, helping to treat many of the illnesses that plague this region. The City of McAllen is proud to make this donation for development of this cancer research center.”

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