NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center have entered into an agreement to collaborate on expanding oncology services to Pioneer Valley residents.
This agreement advances care for patients with a cancer diagnosis living in Western Mass. by providing easier access to Mass General Cancer Center specialists, timely referrals for second opinions, and improved coordination of care.
Dr. George R. Bowers, medical director of the Cooley Dickinson Cancer Care Program, says patients living with cancer and those who are newly diagnosed want the assurance that they are receiving the best cancer treatment and follow-up care available.
“This agreement allows Cooley Dickinson Cancer Care providers to build relationships with Mass General Cancer Center specialists that will result in the availability of more clinical resources and access to expanded expertise,” he said. “The collaboration will enhance the relationship between the two health care organizations.
“Patients can stay in the community for their oncology care with the peace of mind that they have access to Mass General Cancer Center’s expertise when needed,” Bowers continued, adding that receiving care close to home allows patients and their families to be supported by their friends and the community during and after treatment.
Dr. David P. Ryan, clinical director of the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at Mass General, noted that, “when Cooley Dickinson requested proposals to collaborate with a tertiary cancer care organization, Mass General Cancer Center responded, and we are honored to have been selected to collaborate with Cooley Dickinson’s Cancer Care Program.
“Cooley Dickinson’s team of oncology specialists and cancer care staff and radiation oncology and treatment planning are outstanding community-based resources,” he added, “and we are pleased to strengthen this program by collaboration with Mass General Cancer Center.”
Mary Ellen Walsh, Cancer Care Program Director at CDH, said the agreement is about continuing to provide exceptional cancer care treatment to this community. “Our patients want world-class medical care. They want to be cared for close to home with the support of family and friends. Cooley Dickinson now has access to nationally recognized cancer experts and resources both here and in Boston. This agreement brings Cooley Dickinson’s Cancer Care Program to a new level.”
For the hospitals, the agreement also includes select clinical trials at CDH, collaboration on community outreach and education programs, on-site sub-specialty care at Cooley Dickinson, sharing of quality data related to oncology services, and access to Mass General Cancer Center genetics counseling resources and expertise.
The Cooley Dickinson-based oncology physician team of Bowers; Dr. Linda Bornstein, radiation oncologist; Dr. Lindsay Rockwell, medical oncologist/hematologist; Dr. Deborah Smith, medical oncologist; and Dr. Robert Stein, radiation oncologist has started to build relationships with Mass General Cancer Center colleagues.
“Relationships with the Mass General Cancer Center providers will make accessing care easier for patients,” Bornstein said.
Added Walsh, “the patient always has the choice of where he or she wants to receive care, or where they want to go for a second opinion. What we are offering residents are systems of care that help them more easily navigate the health care system and access to exceptional, nationally and internationally recognized resources.”