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Shawnee Mission Health Partners With Top-Ranked Cancer Network to Deliver World-Class Cancer Care Locally

Jaime Rosenberg
After a year-long process, Shawnee Mission Health (SMH) is now a certified member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network, the top ranked cancer center in the US. The 2 will work together to raise the standard of cancer care in the Kansas City metropolitan community through patient-centered care.
Shawnee Mission Health (SMH) is now a certified member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network and will work hand in hand with the network to deliver world-class cancer care locally.

The affiliation has 2 fronts; not only does it validate the high-quality care delivered by the Shawnee Mission Cancer Center, which opened just 4 years ago, but it also opens up expedited access to physicians and resources from the top ranked cancer center in the US.

“It’s validation for our physicians and patients that we are continuing practicing the highest standard of care,” said Becca Bell, administrative director of oncology services at SMH, in an interview with The American Journal of Managed Care®.

The year-long process consisted of 3 steps, taking a look at the health system individually and as a whole. MD Anderson began by doing research on SMH and coming on site to make sure that they felt their missions were aligned and synergistic. Following the onsite visits, a due diligence process took place, assessing SMH-provided services, level of care, regimens followed, and how internal programs are set up to accomplish multidisciplinary care. A gap analysis was also performed for each SMH policy. The last phase took an in-depth look at the chart audit of physicians and their credentials.

SMH focuses on treating the whole person, said Bell. Their mind, body, and soul are equally important. Services and amenities the health system provides include a single point of contact for all aspects of cancer care, financial navigators, and complimentary therapies such as art and music therapy.

“The biggest impact of this is not in the care we deliver, because their partnership was a validation of the care we were already delivering,” said Sam Caughron, MD, a physician specializing in pathology at SMH. “The value to this is that we’re a relatively small practice; with the pace in which cancer care innovation is happening, it will allow us to stay current with great assurance and reliance on a partner.”

SMH now has the ability to tap into any resources MD Anderson Cancer Network has on site, including streamlined access to the network’s 76-year history of expertise. If a patient wants to speak with an expert regarding a unique cancer or unique element of cancer, they will have expedited access and generally receive answers within 24 hours, said Caughron.

Additionally, if a patient needs a second opinion, it can now be done on site. “MD Anderson does a ton of second opinions. That resource alone is phenomenal,” said Bell.

Other resources available to SMH through the affiliation include disease-specific and evidence-based treatment guidelines, safety practices, and professional education such as the network’s multidisciplinary tumor conferences.

“I hope as we move forward, that when we have any person who comes to us, it’s an opportunity for us to positively impact their life,” said Bell. “When people are here, it feels different. We have that family feel, yet we’re meeting the highest standards and have proven that.”

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