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January 23, 2011

UVA Health System wins distinction for its care of patients with complex and rare cancers

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As part of efforts to raise the overall quality of healthcare in America, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has expanded its Blue Distinction® designation, and named UVA Cancer Center as one of the 80-plus Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers. UVA is one of the centers in 33 states to earn this new designation.

“We are delighted that our Cancer Center has earned the distinction of being a place for patients with complex cases, who require the finest evidence-based care we can offer,” says Michael Weber, director of the UVA Cancer Center. “It is our privilege to help these patients and provide them hope. We have worked hard to assemble a team of experts who together create comprehensive care plans to manage the complicated, individual needs of each patient.”

UVA Health System already has been named a Blue Distinction center for Cardiac Care, Transplants and Bariatric Surgery.

Selection criteria for Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers set objective, evidence-based criteria for clinical care. UVA Cancer Center and others with this distinction feature:

multidisciplinary team input, including sub-specialty trained teams for complex and rare cancers and demonstrated depth of expertise across cancer disciplines in medicine, surgery, radiation oncology, pathology and radiology; ongoing quality management and improvement programs for cancer care; ongoing commitment to using clinical data registries and providing access to appropriate clinical research for complex and rare cancers; and sufficient volume of experience in treating rare and complex cancers.

UVA will enhance its abilities to deliver the best cancer care possible when it opens the new Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, with a groundbreaking on April 12.  The Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center will house all outpatient services for adults diagnosed with cancer, including:

Comprehensive services for patient-centered care, including infusion, physician consultations, imaging, hematology and oncology clinics under one roof Complete radiation-oncology treatment services, including state-of-the-art tomotherapy, which delivers precise, targeted doses of radiotherapy to tumors A clinical trials office, ensuring that advanced or experimental therapies are available to every patient Complete patient and family services, including a cancer learning center and programs to foster physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being Clusters of exam and consultation rooms that maintain privacy as well as access to complete clinical information on each patient Telemedicine capabilities for offering expert consultation and outreach across the region.

Scott P. Serota, BCBSA president and CEO, notes:  “In the current healthcare system, 30 cents of every dollar is spent on care that is ineffective, inappropriate or redundant.  A key goal of Blue Distinction is to promote better healthcare by expanding the number of providers delivering safe and effective care based on objective, evidence-based criteria.”

Complex and rare cancers comprise approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases each year, making it difficult for consumers to locate or research an oncologist or surgical team that is experienced in treating these specific malignancies.

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