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Legacy Health, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute plan to forge closer ties to better serve patients

The two health care organizations sign a letter of intent to create a more integrated adult community cancer care program serving a five-county region

Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute and Legacy Health’s Cancer Institute have signed a letter of intent to expand upon their existing collaboration to deliver the most advanced community adult cancer care at all of their mutual locations.

Together the two organizations plan to create a more integrated community cancer program for radiation oncology, medical oncology and infusion services that will operate in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Columbia and Clark counties. Medical oncologists specialize in chemotherapy and other treatments used to manage cancer care. Infusion services administer chemotherapy and other cancer drugs. Radiation oncologists use radiation therapy as the main modality of treatment.

By collaborating more extensively, the Legacy Cancer Institute and OHSU Knight Cancer Institute will be better equipped to leverage their resources, such as equipment purchases, to enhance delivery of cancer care.

“OHSU is committed to working with others to improve access to high-quality health care at the lowest possible cost,” said Peter Rapp, executive vice president and executive director of OHSU Healthcare. “The collaboration we are working to create would achieve the goals set out by health care reform. It would avoid a duplication of resources and would enable both organizations to complement each other.”

“This is about improving the depth and breadth of cancer care in the region,” said Everett Newcomb III, D.O., senior vice president and chief operating officer for Legacy Health. “We will be able to streamline and coordinate care for cancer patients across multiple locations, ensuring continued growth of the excellent research programs at both OHSU and Legacy.”

Care for patients will not be interrupted under any planned scenario. Patients will continue to see the same physician in the same place. There are no anticipated changes in insurance plans or services. The goal of the collaboration is to give health care providers more flexibility in caring for patients, as Legacy Cancer Institute and OHSU Knight Cancer Institute physicians work as a team and consult with each other on patient treatment.

The two organizations will benefit in different ways.

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute will gain closer integration with Legacy’s network of medical centers. Legacy is the only Network Cancer Program in Oregon recognized by the American College of Surgeons. Knight community medical oncologists and its radiation oncology department will consult with Legacy physicians on their patients’ treatment plans and will enhance the role they serve within the Legacy cancer treatment team. OHSU Knight Cancer Institute surgical oncologists will not be part of the joint venture, nor will medical oncologists who practice on OHSU’s Marquam Hill campus.

For Legacy Cancer Institute, the extended collaboration will mean closer ties to the Knight’s community medical oncology team on all five of its campuses. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in Oregon. In addition, Legacy patients will benefit from the latest developments in personalized cancer medicine and genomic testing. Legacy Medical Group – Surgical Oncology will not be part of the joint venture.

“This is a wonderful example of two organizations coming together for the benefit of cancer care,” said Nathalie Johnson, M.D., medical director of Legacy Cancer Institute. “Legacy and OHSU patients will have access to the highest level of community cancer care in conjunction with the latest in technology and research.”

“Delivering care to multiple communities and the most diverse range of patients possible supports the Knight’s mission to end cancer as we know it,” said Brian Druker, M.D, director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “With Legacy, we can better ensure that patients are receiving the most sophisticated personalized treatments in the most appropriate place.”

Legacy and OHSU already collaborate in many areas. In 1995, the two health care organizations entered an agreement that ultimately created the Northwest Marrow Transplant Program. That agreement, among other things, made it possible for the two organizations to conduct joint research related to bone marrow transplants and strengthen regional teaching programs related to these treatments. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute gained a medical oncology office on most Legacy campuses when it acquired Pacific Oncology in 2008.

Though the collaboration will be designed to enable the two organizations to work more closely together to deliver the right level of care at the most appropriate place for the patient’s treatment needs, they will still maintain separate identities and brands.

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