PORTLAND, Maine – Cancer patients in Maine and Mt. Washington Valley now have access to world-class, coordinated cancer treatment thanks to an innovative collaboration between MaineHealth members and its affiliate hospitals. The MaineHealth Cancer Care Network, which will deliver comprehensive, patient-centered care and is being launched in part with a $10 million grant from The Harold Alfond® Foundation, is also affiliating with Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Diagnosing cancer and treating patients with the disease requires a team of experts. Most cancer patients receive a combination of therapies that can include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These treatments are best performed by specialists, including those with the highest level of training in their field. Not every hospital or private practice has the expertise or technology to deliver all types of care but by working together, the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network can provide comprehensive cancer treatment services to everyone in our communities.
For patients and their families, this means less time and travel to obtain top cancer care. Most patients will have access to a patient navigator who educates them about the disease, discusses treatment options, and then helps coordinate appointments.
“Our network includes nearly 300 physicians plus advanced practice providers, nurses and administrative staff across Maine and the Mount Washington Valley,” said Scot C. Remick, M.D., chief of oncology for Maine Medical Center and MaineHealth. “Coordinated, comprehensive care represents best practice in cancer treatment and typically delivers the best clinical and experience outcomes. The generous investment from The Harold Alfond Foundation will make a tremendous difference in the lives of Maine and New Hampshire residents by facilitating personalized, state-of-the-art care that turns more patients into survivors.”
Cancer is a serious public health challenge in Maine and New Hampshire, where incidence and mortality rates outpace national averages. In Maine, the most common cancer diagnoses are breast, lung, kidney and prostate; and in NH, breast, lung, prostate, colon and urinary/bladder. Cancers that account for the highest portion of deaths in Maine are lung, colon, breast and pancreas; and in NH, lung, colon, pancreas, breast and prostate. Population health trends, including age, obesity and smoking rates, are all significant factors.
The grant will also support MaineHealth’s continuing efforts in prevention and education.
“Memorial Hospital is fortunate to be part of The MaineHealth Cancer Care Network. Now not only can our patients receive quality oncology and chemotherapy treatment close to home, they’ll also have access to more advanced care should they need it,” stated Memorial Hospital President & CEO Scott McKinnon. “I am proud of the care and compassion of our local oncology team and we’re all looking forward to the benefits this new initiative will bring to our community.”
MaineHealth Cancer Care Network partners include Franklin Memorial Hospital, LincolnHealth, MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, Maine Medical Center, Memorial Hospital, Mid Coast Hospital, Pen Bay Medical Center, Southern Maine Health Care, St. Mary’s Hospital, Stephens Memorial Hospital, Waldo County General Hospital and the Cancer Care Center of York County.
When patients access the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network for care, they will access the services they need as close to home as possible. Patients can be referred to larger centers for more advanced care, second opinions or clinical trials, and then return to their local communities for follow-up care. The network’s commitment is to coordinate the patient’s journey as they access the services that are most appropriate for them.
Coordinated care models produce positive outcomes for patients. According to the Maine Cancer Foundation, given the gravity and complexity of cancer diagnoses in Maine, reducing the cancer burden cannot be achieved if organizations worked in silos.
For nearly a decade Augusta-based MaineGeneral, an affiliate of MaineHealth, has used a similar coordinated care model through its Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care.
The Harold Alfond Foundation Chairman Greg Powell said the new network will build on the success of both MaineGeneral’s Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care and the Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute.
“Harold Alfond was a strong believer in teamwork and innovation. He also was deeply passionate about helping others. We are proud to make this commitment to the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network because by working together we can achieve transformative change in the lives of so many people who everyday face a disproportionate risk of cancer,” said Powell. “We are especially excited to work with such an excellent team that is so incredibly focused on helping patients and families.”
The Harold Alfond Foundation grant will be distributed over a five-year period and will cover some of the network’s start-up costs such as technology investments and hiring additional providers, patient navigators and program managers.
“Mainers and residents of the Mt. Washington Valley know that the Alfond name means something special. For nearly a decade now The Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care at MaineGeneral Medical Center has been synonymous with high-quality, coordinated care,” said Chuck Hays, chief executive of MaineGeneral Medical Center. “We are extremely proud to be part of the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network, which has an opportunity to deliver the right care as close to home as possible for so many people and dramatically improve health outcomes for those diagnosed with cancer.”
Through the network’s affiliation with Dana-Faber Cancer Institute – designated by the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center and widely recognized as one of the world’s leading treatment and research centers – patients will have expedited access to Dana-Farber for evaluation and treatment of rare cancers, second opinions and an expanded array of clinical trials.
“We are very excited about this relationship with MaineHealth, one that we expect will evolve over time,” said Eric Winer, M.D., chief strategy officer with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “We hope to help ensure that people with cancer always have access to the very best care possible.”
Learn more about the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network by Clicking Here.
Story Submitted by:
Kathy Bennett, Vice President – Community Relations & Development
603-356-5461 ext. 2198