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Published on November 05, 2015

Mayo, St. Vincent’s cancer collaboration not the first

By Kate Hallock, Resident News

When Mayo Clinic and St. Vincent’s HealthCare announced early in October a collaboration to bring Mayo Clinic’s nationally ranked cancer services to patients in a newly built medical suite on the campus of St. Vincent’s Riverside, it was not the first time the two health care giants have put business heads together.

The organizations collaborated closely when the Mayo Clinic sold St. Luke’s hospital to St. Vincent’s HealthCare in 2008 in order to move to an integrated hospital and clinic practice on San Pablo Road, said Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. St. Luke is now called St. Vincent’s Southside.

This latest collaboration will offer Mayo Clinic Cancer Center’s programs and services to more patients directly in the community by establishing a presence at St. Vincent’s Riverside.

“The concept has been under development for approximately a year during which we transitioned from a high-level concept into a specific operational plan,” Farrugia said.

When asked what statistics suggested the collaboration would be a good endeavor, Farrugia said, “Given the breadth of the owned and affiliated physician practices in the St. Vincent’s HealthCare system, there are a significant volume of patients who receive cancer care on the St. Vincent’s Riverside campus. Through this partnership, after studying disease incidence and prevalence, we anticipate the ability to diagnose and treat approximately 1,000 new cases of cancer per year in the initial two to three years.”

The 11,500-square-foot medical suite will be built in existing space, which will be completely redone for these purposes on the fourth floor of the DePaul building. St. Vincent’s will construct and equip the facility.

“While we don’t have a definite confirmed date for a ‘wall-breaking,’ we expect construction to be complete during the summer of 2016,” said Michael Schatzlein, M.D., president and CEO of St. Vincent’s HealthCare.

The cancer services include medical oncology, an infusion center for chemotherapy, and multidisciplinary disease specialized care for various types of cancer.

“This partnership leverages the rich history of excellence of two partners who complement each other nicely in in providing oncology services.  St. Vincent’s Riverside, as a community hospital, relies on employed or aligned physician partners in providing subspecialty care,” said Farrugia. “Through the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, we can provide subspecialized oncologists to the Riverside campus who will leverage the 150 years of Mayo expertise in cutting-edge clinical practice and research. In addition, Mayo Clinic offers Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.”

As part of the agreement, Mayo Clinic will staff the facility with Mayo physicians. St. Vincent’s will assume the remaining clinical and administrative responsibilities.

“To make the process easier for patients, the billing process will be handled through St. Vincent’s,” said Schatzlein.

Farrugia said they anticipate there will be three to four physicians in the practice each day following the initial ramp-up. “This will be a blend of general oncologist, home-based at the Riverside campus, as well as rotating subspecialists traveling from the San Pablo campus to provide care for patients with more rare and difficult to treat conditions,” he said. “Overall, approximately 15 physicians will participate in staffing the Riverside practice.”

The physicians will be supported by a team of nurses and advanced practice providers to accommodate any and all referrals received on the campus, Farrugia said.

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