Premier Health has completed the first phase of certification as a member of the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Network, offering patients access to state-of-the-art patient care and innovative therapies and treatments.
Two Premier hospitals — Miami Valley and Upper Valley Medical Center — and 30 Premier physicians became certified members of the cancer network last December, and southwest Ohio’s largest hospital network is in the process of certifying 30 additional doctors as well as Good Samaritan Hospital and Atrium Medical Center.
Premier, the largest hospital network in the region, expects to complete certification by August, joining Columbus-based OhioHealth as the only MD Anderson certified hospital networks in Ohio. The company will announce its partnership plans today during a news conference at Miami Valley South.
“It’s a rigorous process,” said Jim Pancoast, Premier’s retiring president and CEO. “This is not just a brand associated with another brand. The physicians are becoming certified, and they (MD Anderson) spend a lot of time on clinical excellence because they’re also putting their brand with us.”
Certification will give Premier cancer specialists direct access to their counterparts in Texas to collectively review patient records and charts and engage in peer-to-peer consultations to make sure treatments are aligned with MD Anderson’s national guidelines and standards.
The MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the nation’s original three Comprehensive Cancer Centers, pioneering the National Cancer Institute guidelines that set the standard of cancer care today.
“We’ve had multidisciplinary conferences at Premier for years,” said Dr. Charles Bane, an oncologist and chair of the Premier Health Cancer Institute. “This (MD Anderson certification) just takes that one step further. It’s not only the professionals here, it’s the best cancer professionals in the world that are available to us and can be part of the patient’s treatment team.”
MD Anderson has a reputation for developing cutting-edge diagnostic tools and tailoring treatments for the most difficult cancer cases. New and innovative therapies generally are available at MD Anderson several years before they become widely available elsewhere.
“This is an extraordinarily exciting time to be involved in cancer care,” Bane said. “The number of new treatments is astounding, and they’re not just variations of what we had before. The standard approach of surgical intervention, radiation and chemotherapy still certainly exist, but there are a whole host of new types of tests and treatments.”
Hospitals in the Premier network treat more than 3,500 cancer patients in a year, according to Premier officials.
While all of the proven, evidence-based tests and treatments are already utilized by Premier physicians, cancer patients often want the option of consulting a second doctor at a cancer center or clinic in another location, Bane said.
“Often times, that’s driven by the impression that if they drive, if they make that trip, they will find treatments that aren’t available close to home,” he said. “But that’s usually not true. The treatments are available to us, and by having this expertise in how to use them (through collaboration with MD Anderson) we really gain the best of all possible worlds.”
While most Premier patients will receive their cancer care locally, there will be opportunities for patients to interact with MD Anderson doctors directly, such as participating in expanded clinical trials. The MD Anderson Cancer Center is home to the largest clinical trials program in the nation.
“We will have access to their trials,” Pancoast said. “And this will give people in our market a greater chance of being part of all those trials.”
And in rare cases, when the situation warrants, patients may be be referred to an MD Anderson physician in Texas for further treatment.