March 21, 2008

VICC chosen for complex cancer care

Featured Image

Hendrik Weitkamp, M.D., examines patient Demariyona Shields in the NICU. (photo by Dana Johnson)

VICC chosen for complex cancer care

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has been selected as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, in collaboration with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Blue Distinction is the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies' program to measurably improve the way health care is accessed and delivered. Cancer centers named to this program must offer comprehensive inpatient cancer care programs for adults, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise in treating complex and rare types of cancer.

“BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is committed to identifying the highest medical value possible for our members,” said Ken Patric, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer. “That process begins by identifying the highest quality providers. Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center was the only provider in Tennessee to meet all of the quality criteria for rare adult cancers necessary to be a Blue Distinction Center.”

“We are honored to receive this prestigious designation,” said David Johnson, M.D., deputy director of Vanderbilt-Ingram. “This award recognizes the commitment of our research scientists and clinicians to providing the most advanced care for cancer patients.”

C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A., associate vice-chancellor for Clinical Affairs and chief medical officer for VUMC, is proud of this special recognition.

“It affirms the excellence of the unusual aggregation of committed talent and resources at Vanderbilt-Ingram necessary to meet the needs of patients with these relatively uncommon, but serious, diseases.”

The types of rare or complex cancers covered by this designation and treated at Vanderbilt-Ingram include esophageal, pancreatic, liver, rectal, gastric, brain, bladder, thyroid, head and neck, soft tissue sarcomas, ocular melanoma, bone tumors and acute leukemia.

This group of malignancies comprises less than 15 percent of new cancer cases each year. With the exception of acute leukemia, patients with localized disease require complex surgical procedures performed by highly experienced surgical teams, with support from other specialists, to achieve optimal outcomes.

“Our team science approach enables patients with rare or complex malignancies to receive comprehensive care, based on the latest research and treatment methodologies available,” said Dan Beauchamp, M.D., professor of Surgery. “Patients with these types of cancer benefit when they are treated from the outset by medical professionals who have a great deal of experience treating difficult or unusual cases.”