Complex and Rare Cancer Programs in Savannah, Georgia, Earn Blue Distinction

(June 2, 2008) –Memorial University Medical Center was named southeast Georgia’s only Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers. Blue Distinction is Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s nationwide program for specialty care that identifies quality providers around the country. Memorial is one of only two providers selected in the state of Georgia.

Complex and rare cancers comprise approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases each year. This makes it difficult for patients to locate or research facilities with oncologists or surgical teams that are experienced in treating these cancers. Examples of complex or rare cancers include pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, bone cancer, brain cancer, and acute leukemia. The Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute (ACI) at MUMC has specialized treatment teams, laboratory researchers, and surgeons with expertise in the treatment of complex and rare cancers.

“Earning Blue Distinction is especially important to us because it is based on actual patient outcomes and quality indicators. It proves that the ACI is the place to go for world-class cancer care,” said Jeff Boyd, Ph.D., director of the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute (ACI) at Memorial Health University Medical Center.

The criteria for determining Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers includes:

• Has 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;
• Demonstrates ongoing quality management and improvement programs for cancer care;
• Demonstrates an ongoing commitment to using clinical data registries and improvement programs for cancer care;
• Demonstrates sufficient volume of experience in treating rare and complex cancers.

“We commend the facilities that have been designated for treating complex and rare cancers. Blue Distinction promotes the consistent practice of evidence-based medicine,” said Monye Connolly, president, BCBSGa. “The Blues are committed to working collaboratively with physicians and hospitals to raise the overall quality of healthcare in our nation. We understand that to deliver true patient-centered care, Blue Distinction Centers often need to coordinate care following a complex surgery or primary inpatient stay with patients’ local physicians.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is available at www.bcbsga.com.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed tertiary medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. Memorial University Medical Center has been named a Distinguished Hospital by J.D. Power and Associates four years in a row for providing an outstanding patient experience.