Situated in Southwest Florida near the parks and beaches of the Gulf Coast, Bonita Springs and Lee County is a popular place to live, work, and retire. In terms of healthcare, the population growth in the area means that the need for chemotherapy services will show an increase of at least 3.3% over the next few years.

In response to this population growth, Lee Health opened an outpatient cancer clinic this past summer to better serve the needs of patients needing cancer care, chemotherapy, and physicians close to home. Over the summer, a shuttered 18,000-square-foot surgery center at 3501 Heath Center Blvd was remodeled to reopen as a cancer clinic.

This was welcome news to the area's medical community and residents. The only other cancer care for outpatients is at the Regional Cancer Center in Fort Meyers while the Gulf Coast Medical Center only provides inpatient cancer care.

What Services Will Be Available at the Clinic?

After a roughly $11 million remodeling project at the Bonita Health Center, the clinic will feature a 32-chair infusion center, four individual treatment rooms, and 12 additional examination rooms. Other infusion services will also be available including for patients who need iron for other needs besides chemotherapy.

Altogether the clinic is expected to provide 12,000 doctor visits and 30,000 infusions annually. Fort Meyers Regional Cancer Center oncologists will rotate working at the new Bonita Springs center and more will be hired. Two to three will be added bringing the total to seven or eight.

How the New Clinic Was Possible

Lee County's new cancer care center will be named the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Cancer Clinic in honor of the support it was given by Schulze and his family. Richard Schulze is the founder of Best Buy and resides in Naples. The foundation supports health, education, and social services needs in his native Minnesota and in his now-home state of Florida.

The foundation donated $1 million upfront for the project and then committed to an additional 1.5 million if Lee County matched the amount which was met by the county raising $2 million.

Part of the total amount of funds raised includes $1.5 million raised by Bonita Bay residents who held Kentucky Derby fundraising events for three years in anticipation of the future clinic.

According to event co-chairwoman Nancy Krejsa, around 170 residents participated in the fundraiser. The month of May brought in $550,000. “Bonita Bay is a generous and caring community," she stated. "They are proud to support Lee Health."

What's Next for Lee County Health?

According to chief development, marketing, and communications officer Chris Simoneau, a similar cancer center is planned for nearby Cape Coral, another fast-growing area. Lee Health has several other projects planned for Cape Coral ranging from more doctor's offices for specialty services including pediatrics and expansions at Cape Coral Hospital.

Also in the works is the expansion of the Surfside Medical Facility. The projected cost of the 2-phase project is $10.4 million. The target completion date is January 2024.