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News Archive - Progress Newsletter Summer 2000 Online

Cancer Center Network Update

In May, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System signed an affiliation agreement with the University of Michigan Health System to become the newest member of the University of Michigan Cancer Center Network, a growing group of select hospitals and physician practices throughout the region dedicated to improving cancer care.

"Physicians at the University of Michigan have a long history of developing innovative cancer therapies based on strong basic science research," says Max S. Wicha, M.D., director of the U-M Cancer Center, one of the state's two NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers."Our affiliation with St. Joe's will help speed the transfer of these new treatments into an excellent community setting, where they can have the greatest impact on patients' lives."

The combined strengths of these two organizations will not only provide more patients with access to high-priority clinical research studies, but also to state-of-the-art treatment guidelines. The U-M is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a group of 17 of the country's leading cancer centers charged with developing guidelines for nearly every type of cancer.

Through the affiliation with the U-M, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System will become one of only two community hospitals in the country to participate in NCCN's Outcomes Database study, which monitors and integrates treatment guidelines and enters results into a database. By utilizing the database, the NCCN will be able to translate the guidelines into a powerful resource for quality enhancements and cost monitoring in cancer care. U-M Cancer Center experts were involved in the development of the guidelines and currently participate in the Outcomes Database through their NCCN membership.

"Cancer patients have always let us know how important they think it is for our two institutions to work together. In fact, U-M and St. Joe's have been collaborating in the field of cancer for more than five years," says Wicha. "This agreement solidifies and expands our relationship, so that patients can now be assured of receiving the most comprehensive care, regardless of which facility they choose to seek treatment."

"The ultimate beneficiary is the community. Together, St. Joe's and the University can enhance access to state-of-the-art clinical trials and cutting-edge therapy," says Philip Stella, M.D., medical director, Oncology Program, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. "The guideline initiatives have the potential to improve quality while containing costs. Thus, everyone wins when we work together."

Other initiatives between the two organizations include gynecologic oncology services and a cancer genetics clinic.


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