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New cancer alliance to serve patients across the region

May 07, 2013
Cancer Care Northwest, Kootenai Health and Providence Health Care in Spokane, WA and Coeur d'Alene, ID have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a new inland northwest regional cancer alliance aimed at elevating the quality, coordination and care experience for patients and their families.

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The Alliance for Cancer Care

Spokane, WA—Cancer Care Northwest, Kootenai Health and Providence Health Care – the region’s premier health care leaders in cancer services – have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a new regional cancer alliance aimed at elevating the quality, coordination and care experience for patients and their families throughout the inland northwest. This is not a merger or acquisition. It is an innovative model of clinical collaboration between three committed cancer care providers.

"Our goal is to build regional centers of excellence in oncology that will continually provide our patients with the latest advances in cancer therapies, cutting-edge research and the most sophisticated technology," says Warren Benincosa, chief executive officer of Cancer Care Northwest (CCNW). “By combining the expertise of each organization, our aim is to further expand the coordinated treatment of cancer patients, allowing them to remain close to home for their care”.

The new alliance is the first step in creating an environment that will make local advancements in cancer care possible. These potentially include adoption of evidence-based clinical protocols, medical research and clinical trial opportunities that bring additional treatment options to patients, improved physician recruitment, community education and prevention programs, expansion of tumor conferences that use multidisciplinary teams of experts to evaluate patients’ cancers to determine the best course of treatment, and expansion of programs and services like patient navigators that assist patients through the cancer treatment process.

The new alliance’s first endeavor is to create a comprehensive and integrated radiation treatment program to serve patients throughout the region. The intent is to develop one coordinated radiation oncology program across the three organizations creating greater efficiencies and improved access to advanced, targeted radiation tools that enhance treatment response and minimize side effects.

For doctors, nurses, and clinical teams who care for patients with cancer, the alliance will allow more coordinated patient care, elevated clinical outcomes, and expanded program offerings. In addition, all three parties are committed to providing care to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

“This is one of the most exciting health care opportunities we’ve seen,” says Elaine Couture, chief executive of Providence Health Care. “The collaboration enables medical providers to advance the care and treatment of patients with cancer through a more consistent, high quality, comprehensive, multidisciplinary care approach.” For example, Cancer Care Northwest and Sacred Heart are already working together to expand a program for treating patients with blood cancers including leukemia and myelomas.

“It’s clear in today’s changing health care environment that patients, medical providers, the government, insurance and health plans expect more from their health care system. They are demanding better outcomes and a more coordinated patient experience at a more affordable price”, says Jon Ness, chief executive officer of Kootenai Health. “We are excited about our ability to meet these expectations together while advancing the care and treatment of patients with cancer, right here, in our communities.”

The alliance will have an initial total of 39 providers. This will include 27 oncologists and 12 advance practice professionals such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

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About Cancer Care Northwest

Cancer Care Northwest is a physician-owned oncology practice that has operated in Spokane for over 30 years. It is comprised of 22 physicians, and eight midlevel providers, specializing in medical, surgical, radiation and gynecologic oncology, along with a complete health care team. As one of only a handful of fully integrated cancer clinics in the US, Cancer Care Northwest offers comprehensive cancer care encompassing physician services, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, diagnostic imaging and access to coordinated support teams, including registered dietitians and social services. Currently, Cancer Care Northwest operates four clinics in metropolitan Spokane and Spokane Valley, and seven outreach clinics throughout Eastern Washington. For more information, visit www.CancerCareNorthwest.com.  

About Kootenai Health

Kootenai Health provides comprehensive medical services to patients in northern Idaho and the Inland Northwest regardless of their ability to pay. Kootenai includes a 254-bed community-owned hospital and specialized services for heart, cancer, neonatal care, diagnostic imaging, and rehabilitation. They have formal affiliations with three critical access hospitals in northern Idaho and employ more than 75 primary and specialty care physicians in clinics throughout the region. Kootenai holds Magnet designation for nursing excellence and Kootenai Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. For more information, visit www.kootenaihealth.org.

About Providence Health Care

In eastern Washington, the Providence Health Care regional network consists of 11 integrated health care organizations working together to provide quality health and human services for Inland Northwest residents. It includes Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, Providence Holy Family Hospital, Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville and Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chewelah; and a full continuum of services including home health, assisted living, adult day health, skilled nursing, a physician division and PAML medical laboratories. Providence Medical Group, the physician division of Providence Health Care, includes more than 400 primary care, specialty care and hospital-based medical providers serving patients throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Physician clinics are located in Spokane and Stevens counties. For more information, visit www.phc.org.