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St. John Health System signs affiliation agreement with University of Michigan

originally posted on June 11, 2001

ANN ARBOR, MI - St. John Health System has signed an affiliation agreement with the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) to become part of the University of Michigan Cancer Center Network (UMCCN), a growing group of select hospitals and physician practices throughout the region dedicated to improving cancer care.

"As one of the largest providers of cancer care in the state, we are excited to partner with the U-M, which is recognized nationally in cancer research and treatment," says Elliot Joseph, president and CEO of St. John Health System. "Together, we see over 14,000 new cancer cases every year, making us the leader in cancer care treatment in this region," he says. "We know that approximately 85% of cancer services are rendered in the community and expect this partnership will greatly benefit the community by improving access to advanced treatment and research protocols for the thousands of patients we serve through six counties," he says.

"As a National Cancer Institute-designated 'comprehensive' center, we are able to offer our patients access to cutting-edge treatments developed at the NCI and from our own strong basic science research program," says Max S. Wicha, MD, director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Our agreement with St. John Health System - one of the major providers of cancer care in the Detroit urban and suburban areas - increases the number of cancer patients who can benefit from these treatment advances. It allows patients to receive the latest care close to home and access, if needed, the specialized clinics of one of the top cancer care programs in the country."

Specifically, the affiliation will focus on several objectives, including:

  • Joint promotion of and increased coordination and participation in clinical research trials. Joining forces is expected to benefit patients by increasing the number of participants in clinical trials, which in turn may lead to better treatment options for patients.
  • The use of standardized cancer care guidelines to track clinical outcomes.
  • Collaboration on cancer treatments and initiatives to improve quality.
  • Education of consumers, patients, physicians and other providers about cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and care in a coordinated, systematic approach.

The affiliation agreement involves all hospitals affiliated with St. John Health System. Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, SJHS's newest member, is already affiliated with the U-M. Meanwhile, talks will continue involving an expanded affiliation with the Michigan Region of Ascension Health, the parent organization of SJHS as well as Ascension Health, the largest Catholic health system in the country, spanning 15 states. Ascension Health's Michigan Region, in addition to SJHS, also includes Borgess Heath Alliance, Kalamazoo; St. Mary's Medical Center, Saginaw; St. Joseph Health System, Tawas City; and Genesys Health System in Flint.

T"SJHS sees over 5000 new cancer cases every year representing more than 10% of all new cancer cases in the state," says Joseph. "Within the Michigan Region, our hospitals see over one-fifth of all new cancer cases, which can be tremendously beneficial in dramatically increasing the number of patients participating in clinical trials with the U-M as well as partnering in prevention and advanced treatment for patients."

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Background on SJHS and UMCCC

St. John Health System (SJHS) is a growing network of community-based health care services and one of the largest employers in metro Detroit with approximately 20,000 employees. St. John provides comprehensive prevention, primary care and treatment programs with approximately 3,200 physicians, 125 outpatient centers and ten hospitals spanning six counties.

These include:

  • St. John Hospital and Medical Center
  • St. John NorthEast Community Hospital and St. John Detroit Riverview Hospital in Wayne County;
  • St. John North Shores Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital in Macomb County;
  • St. John Oakland Hospital, Providence Hospital and Medical Centers and POH Medical Center (an affiliated hospital) in Oakland County;
  • St. John River District Hospital and Port Huron Hospital (an affiliated hospital) in St. Clair County.

SJHS is affiliated with Wayne State University School of Medicine, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Oakland University's Meadowbrook Health Enhancement Institute and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. It also includes Eastwood Clinics, the largest mental health and substance abuse treatment network in Michigan and several nursing homes. SJHS is the leading provider in the state for open-heart surgery and births. More than 1,500 open heart procedures are performed every year and more than 10,000 babies are delivered through the system hospitals. St. John Health System also treats 5,200 cancer patients each year making it the third largest cancer program in the state.

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMCCC) was established in 1986 and shortly thereafter designated a "comprehensive" center by the National Cancer Institute. Only a small number of centers in the country hold this title by achieving the highest standards in patient care, engaging in significant prevention and research activities, and developing strong community outreach programs.

The UMCCC is one of the top centers nationally in grant funding for cancer research and has more than 200 clinicians and researchers who work together in multidisciplinary teams to rapidly bring the latest discoveries to nearly 30 cancer care clinics.

Patients also have access to more than 200 clinical trials, as well as state-of-the-art treatment guidelines developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network - an alliance of 18 premier cancer centers including UMCCC, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and MD Anderson.

The UMCCC has been ranked 15th among the top 50 cancer centers in the country, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report survey. And in 1999 a poll conducted by the Detroit Free Press, metro Detroit residents listed U-M as their No. 1 choice for cancer care.


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