Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and Baton Rouge General, along with Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates have signed a letter of intent to expand access to cancer care with a focus on treatment closer to where patients live.
Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates, which is currently affiliated with both Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, is expected to join a partnership with just Baton Rouge General and the cancer center.
As a result, the medical oncology practice will open a clinic on Baton Rouge General's Bluebonnet campus in January 2022. The Mary Bird Perkins local network in Baton Rouge includes a main building on Essen Lane, next to Our Lady of the Lake, and the Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion at Woman's Hospital.
Last month, Mary Bird Perkins announced it had reached a deal with Nashville-based OneOncology to join its nationwide network, ending an affiliation with OLOL that started in the early 1990s. The deal is set to close this fall. OLOL will still have an oncology practice at the hospital.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is an outpatient facility so after it cut ties with OLOL, the organization connected with a local hospital as a partner after Baton Rouge General reached out. Patients can still get cancer care from any local hospital.
"Many of these patients eventually need to be hospitalized, they may need surgery or inpatient infusion," said Edgardo Tenreiro, chief executive officer of Baton Rouge General. "We know that a lot of our Louisiana patients go to MD Anderson and there's no reason for that to happen we have the care they need here. There's a revenue opportunity here."
Baton Rouge General has a network affiliation with the Mayo Clinic, which enables local cancer patients to have access to research and physicians.
"The Mayo Clinic has some really awesome programs and we've used their testing in the past, this relationship brings that front and center," said Todd Stevens, president and chief executive officer of Mary Bird Perkins. "Because we're only focused on cancer it really gives us a fantastic advantage. We're going to continue to invest in geographic expansion and expertise to remain nimble."
The collaboration will allow the programs to share technology, integrate clinical programs, including nutrition, rehabilitation, support groups, and medical oncology, and connect patients with enhanced treatment options across all facilities.
The partnership includes all of Baton Rouge General's Pennington Cancer Center: at Bluebonnet, Mid City and Zachary. Ascension-area cancer patients will be able to receive coordinated care at all of Mary Bird Perkins' Baton Rouge facilities, including its Gonzales location.
“This enables us to offer the highest level of cancer care at sites more convenient to our patients while working with the physicians at Baton Rouge General to bring more collaborative, multi-disciplinary care to our region," said Dr. Daniel LaVie, a medical oncologist at Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates.
The organization noted that enabling the patient physician relationship should be the way to lead cancer care treatment.
"We need to be able to respond to the needs of patients, technology changes very rapidly," Stevens said.