July 2008-Story contributed by The Nebraska Medical Center

Story contributed by The Nebraska Medical Center
Complex and rare cancers comprise approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases each year, making it difficult for patients to locate or research facilities with oncologists or surgical teams that are experienced in treating these specific malignancies.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska has named UNMC’s hospital partner, The Nebraska Medical Center, as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers.


Only 88 other medical centers in the United States have earned the same distinction.


Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers were developed in strategic collaboration with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) with input from a panel of leading clinicians and professional organizations.
The NCCN is an elite group of 21 cancer centers across the United States, of which The Nebraska Medical Center is the only one in the region.


Peter Coccia, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center and member of the board of directors of NCCN, said, “We are very pleased to receive the Blue Distinction designation. As a founding member of the NCCN and as a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center, it re-enforces our reputation as a nationally recognized referral site for rare and complex cancers. This designation and our recent award of being named one of the top 50 cancer care hospitals in the U.S. truly set this medical center apart.”


“Blue Distinction reflects the commitment of the entire organization to provide extraordinary care,” said Glenn Fosdick, president and CEO of The Nebraska Medical Center. “We care for some of the most seriously ill patients in the region. Our clinicians have worked diligently to make this one of the elite centers in the United States for these rare and complex cancers.”


“We want to recognize and reward those network providers who are setting new standards of excellence in the quality of health care,” said Dr. Bill Minier, chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska. “Cancer touches the lives of so many Nebraskans. We are thrilled at the level of outstanding specialty care available to our members right here in our state.”


Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers are facilities within participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield network service areas that offer comprehensive inpatient cancer care programs for adults, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise in treating the following complex and rare subtypes of cancer:


Bone cancer;
Brain cancer;
Esophageal cancer;
Gastric cancer;
Head and neck cancers;
Liver cancer;
Pancreatic cancer;
Rectal cancer;
Soft tissue sarcomas;
Thyroid cancer; and
Acute leukemia.
The Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers designation is focused primarily on multidisciplinary treatment planning and complex, major surgical treatments.


Among other selection criteria, The Nebraska Medical Center met the following thresholds necessary to be named as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers:

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 providing access to appropriate clinical research for complex and rare cancers.
Demonstrates sufficient volume of experience in treating rare and complex cancers.
Blue Distinction is a designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality health care. The designation is based on rigorous, evidence-based selection criteria established in collaboration with leading clinicians, medical societies and professional organizations.

The Nebraska Medical Center recognizes that the majority of patients’ multidisciplinary treatment may be best accomplished by integrating the expertise available in a Blue Distinction Center with locally available treatment resources, especially for outpatient chemotherapy and radiotherapy, based on individual circumstances and patient preference. Optimal support of a patient’s comprehensive cancer care needs may be achieved by coordination of care between the patient and their family, local physicians, The Nebraska Medical Center and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska.

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