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USC, Hoag Hospital team up to take on cancer in Orange County

The new partnership links Orange County’s largest community cancer program with the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Photo: The new partnership links Orange County’s largest community cancer program with the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Keck Medicine of USC and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian (Hoag) have announced a partnership that establishes a new comprehensive cancer and oncology services program for Orange County at Hoag Family Cancer Institute.

Hoag and USC also announced the hiring of Burton Eisenberg as executive medical director of the cancer program. Eisenberg, who will be based at Hoag, comes from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, where he served as deputy director and associate director of clinical research. An academic medical center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, located in Lebanon, N.H., is a national leader in patient-centered health care. The Cotton Cancer Center is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country.

The new Hoag/USC partnership links Orange County’s largest community cancer program with the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the nation’s premier academic cancer centers. The latest collaboration between the two leading medical centers promises to enhance patient care by significantly expanding cancer research and treatment in Orange County.

“This partnership is tremendously exciting. We’re joining the best of academic medicine with the best of private practice, working together to make sure that the care close to home is the best possible and also to ensure that the advanced care and clinical trials at USC Norris are also accessible,” said Thomas Jackiewicz, CEO and senior vice president of USC Health. “Local is better for the patient, hands down. This partnership ensures that the best care will be delivered locally whenever possible, while also offering treatment at Keck Medicine of USC if needed.”

The announcement comes at a time when national health experts are calling for improved quality of care for cancer patients. Barriers to achieving stellar care for such patients remain daunting with demand for cancer care projected to skyrocket, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

The report stated that by 2022 there will be 18 million cancer survivors and, by 2030, cancer incidence is expected to rise to 2.3 million new diagnoses per year. Currently about 14 million people in the United States have had cancer, with more than 1.6 million new cases diagnosed each year.

One of the recommendations in the report, released in September, is shifting to team-based models of care, similar to the partnership forged by Hoag and USC.

“The implications of this agreement are far-reaching,” said Jack Cox, senior vice president and chief quality officer of Hoag. “We are equally strong partners coming together to deliver cancer care in a new and different way in Orange County, with the potential to extend this new delivery model to our St. Joseph Health affiliate partners in the future.

“By teaming with USC, we will be able to expand our cutting-edge care by providing patients access to university-based clinical trials, academic training programs and quaternary care extension.”

The cancer affiliation between Hoag and USC is the latest example of strategic alignments for Hoag, which formally affiliated earlier this year with St. Joseph Health to further expand health care services in the Orange County community.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, Tenn., Eisenberg will oversee development of infrastructure and standardized practices for the new program, as well as the identification, recruitment and retention of outstanding physicians specializing in oncology and oncology-related services.

“The increasing complexities of cancer care delivery as well as complete care of the cancer patient require a new multidisciplinary approach,” Eisenberg said. “The Hoag/USC aligned cancer programs will provide an innovative spectrum of cancer treatment. This includes better access to new cancer therapies, development of evidence-based standardized clinical pathways and informed cancer research choices that will be transforming in the years to come.”

Eisenberg’s background as chairman of the department of surgical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and deputy director at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center makes him an important asset to the new program.

“The Orange County community will benefit from a new, unparalleled level of cancer care that not only focuses on treating this disease but also on helping people thrive after treatment,” said Robert Braithwaite, president and CEO of Hoag.

Each year, Hoag Family Cancer Institute treats more than 3,000 people newly diagnosed with cancer, making it the largest cancer program in Orange County. The new partnership with USC gives Hoag patients access to the most innovative resources available in cancer care, while providing USC the opportunity to develop the kind of expertise in community health that has made Hoag a health care leader.

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center provides a full range of oncologic and hematologic services. Part of Keck Medicine of USC, the cancer center is one of the first eight comprehensive cancer centers established by the National Cancer Institute as the result of the National Cancer Act of 1971.

The new cancer and oncology services program at Hoag will include the development of a local research program, and expansion of access to ongoing USC Norris clinical trials for Hoag patients will occur as the relationship progresses.