Community Health partners with Texas-based cancer center | State News
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana center has become home to one of the most advanced cancer treatment networks in the Midwest with a partnership agreement between the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Health Network community, officials from both hospitals said Thursday.
The agreement, which includes renaming the North Side Community Cancer Center in Indianapolis, means the facility will be able to expand its oncology care, research and treatment offerings and, in some cases, to eliminate the need for referrals to state-providers.
“This partnership with MD Anderson combines the best of what Community already offers its patients with the added expertise of a global leader in cancer care,” said Bryan Mills, President and CEO of Community Health Network. .
Increased resources for nearby oncology and other cancer-related treatment services will benefit facilities across the hospital network.
“Our partnership with MD Anderson brings a new level of cancer care to the community,” said Marsha Sherrell, director of cancer services for the Anderson region of the Community Health Network. “Our patients will have access to potentially groundbreaking Phase 1 clinical trials and greater treatment opportunities closer to home.”
The partnership enables the Community Health Network to provide eligible patients in the region — and elsewhere in the Midwest — with broader access to cancer treatments that officials say are among the most advanced in the nation through clinical trials and to MD Anderson research studies.
Peer-to-peer programs between Community Health Network physicians and MD Anderson experts for consultations and other projects should also be an important part of the partnership.
“Our team of 22,000 cancer experts in Houston applauds Community’s excellence and commitment to elevating its cancer care, research, and prevention services to bring world-class treatment to patients in the Midwest,” said Dr. Peter Pisters, President of MD Anderson.
“We are committed to providing cutting-edge research and breakthrough clinical advances to help more cancer patients across the country and around the world.”
Talks centered around forming a relationship between the two groups began about four years ago, Mills said.
“We said if we really want to take care of cancer locally, we need to add more clinical trials and more capacity,” Mills said.
“Some of that is in place right now, but when you start to get into some of the other disciplines related to stem cell or bone marrow therapy, those are things that will happen here soon. We will continue to work with them to identify all ways to provide care and bring them here.
Mills, Pisters and other officials noted that logistical arrangements often exacerbate the emotional upheaval many cancer patients experience when they learn they need to undergo chemotherapy and other treatments.
“We know that it will not be possible for us to have 100% of the patients who will never go to Houston,” he added. “But we believe – and they also believe – that we can get over 99% of them treated here.”
Community health officials expect the Indianapolis Hospital’s research capabilities to be increased by the partnership. Currently, the hospital’s research unit operates three days a week, but with the arrival of more medical researchers, staff will soon expand this to four days a week and possibly full-time.
“The closest partner member (MD Anderson) … is in New Jersey,” Mills said. “We are already talking to other hospitals in the state, and we will talk to others in other states and say, how do we work together? And work together for the good of the community, not for us. It’s a very powerful thing, and I think it’s very doable.
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