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Photograph: Dr. Jonas Fontenot, Gina Tuttle and Kenneth Cochran announce Monday the completion of an agreement between Opelousas General Health Systems and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center to provide cancer treatment at the OGH South Campus cancer center. (Photograph by Bobby Ardoin.)

Editor/Consulting Writer

Officials from Opelousas General Health System and the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center announced on Monday the finalization of their agreement to expand cancer center treatments and resources in the Opelousas area.

Dr. Jonas Fontenot, president and CEO of Mary Bird Perkins, said during an interview following an OGH South Campus press conference, that the agreement between the two cancer treatment centers was finalized near the end of 2022.

Cancer services at OGH which began in 1988, will continue at the South Campus at 3983 I-49 Service Road, with the OHGS staff members including nurses continuing to work at the Cancer Center, according to a press release.

Kenneth Cochran, president and CEO of Opelousas General Health Systems and Gina Tuttle, chairman of the OGHS board of directors, also discussed during the press conference the agreement between the two cancer treatment centers.

Fontenot said in the press release that the OGH and Mary Bird Perkins partnership will provide larger and more convenient access to Acadiana-area cancer patients.

Mary Bird Perkins, Fontenot noted, is the only health care organization in Louisiana with a 100 percent focus on hematology and oncology, providing services for more than 50 years in communities across Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

The press release also indicates that St. Landry has the highest mortality rate in the Acadiana region. Additionally the press release states that the parish ranks among the top 10 parishes with the highest mortality rate.

Fontenot told those attending the press conference that the partnership intends to improve the level of area cancer services in addition to overseeing the infusion and pharmacy programs offered at the OGH cancer center.

“The purpose of this partnership is to provide treatment growth and enhancement related to cancer service and treatments. We are excited about the partnership,” Tuttle said.

Fontenot said during the interview, that Mary Bird Perkins has established similar community outreach partnerships with Baton Rouge General Hospital, Baton Rouge Women’s Hospital and Terrebonne General Health, 

The Cancer Center at OGH currently employs two full time oncologists in addition to the nursing staff and medical practitioners who specialize in oncology, said Fontenot.

Fontenot said that the full time cancer oncological staff includes board certified oncology specialists David Hanson and Bryan Bienvenu. The two doctors Fontenot said, have a combined 50 years of experience in oncology.

The press release says that Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has been a regional cancer care organization for more than 50 years which also provides care at 10 centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Gonzales, Hammond, Houma, Slidell and Natchez, Ms.