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Growing medical services include cancer, vein and vision care

By Kerry Singe | Photos by Kim Hummel Photography

Walk into the Levine Cancer Institute in Ballantyne and what might strike you most is what you see and smell: Aromatherapy scents the air while ceiling-tile murals of clouds let patients imagine they’re relaxing under the sky.

Top medical providers and services have existed in Ballantyne since the community was developed in the 1990s. But as the community has grown so have the number and quality of providers, as well as on-site services available to people who live and work in the area. At Levine Cancer Institute-Ballantyne, for example, patients can access services once available only at the institute’s main location near uptown, services such as chemotherapy and clinical trials.

Dr. Chuck Knudsen, Carolinas Vision Group
Dr. David Draughn, Vein Specialists of the Carolinas
Dr. Derek Raghavan, Levine Cancer Institute (Photo courtesy of Dr. Raghavan)
Dr. Claud Grigg Jr., Levine Cancer Institute-Ballantyne

A sign of how things have changed: The number of people employed in health care in ZIP code 28277 has grown significantly during the past seven years. In 2010, about 1,455 health care jobs existed in the ZIP code. In 2017, that number had grown to 2,265 — a 56 percent increase, according to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Derek Raghavan, president of Levine Cancer Institute, says the medical provider’s goal is to minimize travel and discomfort for patients by adding services at locations in addition to hospital campuses.

“The whole idea is to try to produce and present really top-quality cancer care with all the facilities of a major cancer institute as close to home as we can,” he says. “The quality (in Ballantyne) was always really high. We’ve added people; we’ve added complexity; we’ve added subspecialty expertise.”

At Levine Cancer Institute-Ballantyne, the immunotherapy and chemotherapy room is one of several additions to the practice in recent years.

The Vein Specialists of the Carolinas renovated its 3,500-square-foot surgery center a year ago. Olivia Markham, Lindsay Zerbel and Katherine Fernandez work there.
Carolinas Vision Group offers an assortment of advanced technologies geared toward making the lives of patients easier and healthier. including including Optomap retinal imaging, Orthokeratology and Keratography (pictured here).

Easier Access

An internationally renowned cancer researcher and medical oncologist, Raghavan was recruited seven years ago by Carolinas HealthCare System (now Atrium Health) from the Cleveland Clinic, where he headed the Taussig Cancer Center. His mission: create a university-style comprehensive cancer center that offers top care near where patients live and work — a shift in health care delivery that’s a national trend.

Now at the institute’s Ballantyne site, there’s an immunotherapy and chemotherapy room, genetic counseling and survivorship activities. The office also recently added oncologist Claud Grigg Jr., whom Raghavan describes as a talented “hot shot” with roots in the Charlotte area.

“At Ballantyne, we can provide any medical oncology or hematology service with very few limitations, such as stem cell transplants,” Dr. Grigg says. “In our clinic, we have a busy infusion center with access to any cancer treatment or blood product, an on-site lab and a full support staff team — all with the advantage of a greater sense of community that can only be felt in a small center.

“A cancer diagnosis carries with it fear and anxiety for all of us,” he continues, “and treatment plans are often complex, requiring multiple visits, infusions and lab tests.” Such understandable anxiety is why the office’s reception area has the special ceiling tiles and aromatherapy — to create the feeling of a safe, soothing space.

Expansion of services in Ballantyne also has given patients options to participate in clinical trials, says Grigg, who does cancer research as well. “We have already opened many studies in the Ballantyne area, and I only expect this to increase with time.”

Increasing Variety

According to the Charlotte Chamber, about 160 health care businesses currently operate in the 28277 area. They include more than 70 doctors’ offices and clinics, 41 dental practices, 15 chiropractic offices, six optometrist practices and nine other health care practitioners that include psychiatrists, physical therapists and minute clinics. There are also three laboratories, two home-care services and two sleep centers.

Dr. David Draughn opened a practice in Ballantyne to perform surgery on varicose veins and spider veins in 2008, attracted to the area’s affluent and growing population. During the past 10 years, his practice has evolved, moving beyond a focus on superficial surgery to one incorporating more invasive deep-vein procedures.

The Vein Specialists of the Carolinas renovated its 3,500-square-foot surgery center a year ago, and the facility has been accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Certified in venous and lymphatic medicine, Draughn treats sophisticated conditions such as May-Thurner syndrome and pelvic congestion syndrome. With May-Thurner, for example, doctors can perform an intravenous ultrasound where a miniature ultrasound probe is threaded into the veins.

“You can get the same quality of care as a hospital operating room, and there’s ample parking and it’s a Class A space,” Draughn says. The practice “is busting at the seams, and we are really enjoying it.”

Community Outreach

During last year’s solar eclipse, Dr. Chuck Knudson and the staff at Carolinas Vision Group in Ballantyne did their part to protect people’s eyes. The practice gave away 3,000 pairs of special glasses to patients and others in the community so they could safely view the eclipse.

Day to day, Carolinas Vision offers an assortment of advanced technologies geared toward making the lives of patients easier and healthier. Optomap retinal imaging, for example, lets doctors take images of the retina in the back of the eye, including the optic nerve and blood vessels, to watch for changes over time.

Orthokeratology is a non-surgical procedure that eliminates the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses. A specially designed contact lens that patients wear while sleeping at night gently reshapes the eye. This is a popular option for children too young to have corrective surgery. “It’s like a retainer that retains the shape of fixed teeth as they are growing,” Knudson says.

Since opening the practice in 2007, he is pleased to see the area’s growth and its impact on services. “The medical offerings in Ballantyne are incredible,” he says. “They have grown and continue to improve with time.”

Provider Contact Info

Carolinas Vision Group

15640 Don Lochman Lane, Suite C

704-943-5110

www.carolinasvisiongroup.com

Levine Cancer Institute-Ballantyne

15830 Ballantyne Medical Place, Suite 200

980-442-9600

http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/locations/ levine-cancer-institute-ballantyne

Vein Specialists of the Carolinas

15825 Ballantyne Medical Place, Suite 240

704-544-5245

www.veinscarolina.com