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New approach to cancer care impacts communities across the Carolinas
Carolinas HealthCare System’s (CHS) Levine Cancer Institute announced its charter member institutions, the first group of CHS affiliated hospitals as part of the system’s new cancer care network. This connection among member institutions brings increased access to specialist consults, research offerings, and innovative programs and services to patients closer to where they live, based on the involvement of the participating centers in the Institute programs.
“We take cancer care very seriously. Through our elite network of affiliated hospitals and physicians, located across the Carolinas, we are able to bring patients the best cancer care in a more convenient way,” said Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD. “Levine Cancer Institute is a national model and shows how we are investing in our community and the lives of patients by removing the barriers that separate them from access to breakthrough research and treatments.”
The charter member institutions are:
Member institutions work together across the network to focus on initiatives like quality of care, technology, clinical trials, data sharing and review, patient navigation, health disparities, and community outreach.
“A network of cancer centers and hundreds of cancer care locations across the Carolinas connected technologically and organizationally means patients don’t have to travel long distances to get highly specialized care,” said Edward Kim, MD, Chair of the Institute’s Department of Solid Tumors and Investigational Therapeutics. Dr. Kim joined the Institute in July 2012 from MD Anderson Cancer Center, and is one of more than 30 cancer specialists from top-ranked programs across the country recruited to work with the hundreds of oncologists, surgeons and radiologists across the system.
“The Institute is taking a novel, distributed approach, which we believe to be the future of cancer care,” said Roper St. Francis Healthcare president and CEO David L. Dunlap. “The opportunity to be part of a network of cancer programs, driving excellence through shared knowledge and research and programmatic opportunities will enhance the quality and convenience of cancer care for our patients, as well as those around the region.”
The Institute is creating dozens of programs to support patients through every step of their care. It developed survivorship and integrative medicine programs like patient navigation and fertility preservation. It also offers programs aimed at reducing disparities and providing access to cancer care for those who would not otherwise receive it. To date, it has screened almost 200 uninsured Charlotte women for breast cancer, and has programs in Union and Stanly counties to reach rural and Hispanic communities.
The Institute’s research and administrative headquarters on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center will be complete in October 2012 and will house the region’s first Phase 1 clinical trials unit to expand patient access to novel new therapies. However, the Institute will function as a series of integrated units, so patients would only travel to Charlotte if they require a higher level of care or during early phase clinical trials.
“This concept of a “cancer institute without walls” would not be possible without the strong bond between these member institutions,” said Dr. Raghavan. “Together, we are elevating clinical practice and bringing access to more research, more specialists, standard treatment protocols and innovative programs to all patients throughout the region.”