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Archive for November, 2015

Medical Center Proud to Have Six Programs Recognized as Blue Cross Distinction Centers

When you need to make a physician referral, the hospital you select can have a direct impact on the care your patient receives and his or her outcome. To help you with these important decisions, Blue Cross Blue Shield developed the Blue Distinction Centers recognition program to identify hospitals with proven expertise in delivering specialty care.

Research confirms that Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients, with lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ also are more than 20 percent more cost efficient.

Nebraska Medicine is proud to have six programs representing 21 specialties recognized by this program. Three programs have been recognized as Blue Distinctions Centers+ — Blue Cross’s highest recognition. These are cardiac care, knee and hip replacement and spine surgery. Bariatric surgery, complex and rare cancers and transplant were recognized as Blue Distinction Centers and include these specialty areas: liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, primary brain cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, head and neck cancer, acute leukemia, primary bone cancer, bladder cancer, rectal cancer, soft tissue sarcomas, thyroid cancer, adult pancreas transplant, pediatric autologous and allogeneic bone transplants, pediatric liver transplant, adult autologous and allogeneic bone marrow and stem cell transplant and adult heart care.Mike-Moulton

Michael Moulton, MD

The selection criteria used to evaluate facilities was developed with input from the medical community and includes general quality and safety metrics, program specific metrics, the know-how and expertise of the medical team, the number of times the hospital has performed the procedure and the hospital’s track record for procedure results.

“This recognition is a significant marker of our experience and expertise and reflects our excellent outcomes in cardiac care as well as our ability to provide quality outcomes at a reasonable cost,” says Michael Moulton, MD, chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). “We are a very busy heart center that provides outstanding care and participates in ongoing clinical trials and education. These are the types of things that attract top physicians and caregivers to our program and help us excel.”

“To be recognized by a third party and one that has a vested interest is a true indicator of our success,” says William Lydiatt, MD, director of the Head and Neck Surgical Oncology Section at UNMC. “It is very rewarding to be recognized by our peers as having a valuable program. We see large volumes of patients in many specialty areas. This experience allows us to continually improve and provide the highest level of care. It’s also what enables us to treat some of the most complex cases and to do it well.”

“This recognition represents an objective assessment of our ability to provide high-quality and high-level spine care,” says Kenneth Follett, MD, PhD, professor and chief of Neurosurgery at UNMC. “We have a staff of physicians and other health care professionals with a high level of experience and training in dealing with spinal disorders. This includes health care specialists from multiple disciplines all in one location which allows us to provide a full spectrum of spine care from simple to complex in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

“Receiving this recognition is a result of the experience, skills, depth of expertise and the commitment to high quality care that our staff provides to our patients,” says Kevin L. Garvin, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at UNMC. “Our clinical faculty are skilled in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, ranging from minor injuries to the most complex surgical procedures, including revision arthroplasty and osteotomies. Our team works diligently every day to make the proper diagnosis and prescribe an appropriate and comprehensive course of treatment.”

Validating this recognition, Nebraska Medicine has been ranked one of America’s best hospitals and the top hospital in the state by the U.S. New & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Hospitals list. The medical center is ranked 36th nationally for its cancer care, 29th for gastroenterology and GI surgery, 29th in nephrology, 31st in neurology and neurosurgery, 41st in pulmonology and 25th in urology. Nebraska Medicine was also high performing in six other specialties, including cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, ear, nose and throat, geriatrics, gynecology and orthopaedics.

New Strides Gained in Diagnosis and Treatment of Lung Cancer

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Rudy Lackner, MD

Important strides are being made in the way we screen, diagnose and treat lung cancer. New screening guidelines, in addition to new diagnostic and treatment techniques, are helping doctors find lung cancer earlier and treat it more efficiently, says Rudy Lackner, MD, thoracic surgeon at Nebraska Medicine.

Nebraska Medicine not only offers low-dose CT scan lung cancer screenings, but provides a full spectrum of lung cancer care by a team of surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, nurses and others dedicated to the treatment of lung cancer. Studies show that the chance for long-term survival improves when the medical team involved is dedicated to lung cancer treatment.

Lung cancer screening guidelines published in the Journal of National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommend that individuals age 55 to 74 that have smoked a 30-pack history should be screened with low-dose CAT scan. The guidelines were developed after a study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that screening can reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 percent.

“A CAT scan can detect lung cancer nodules in stage IA when the cure rate can be as high as 90 percent or more,” says Dr. Lackner. “With traditional X-rays, approximately 75 percent of lung cancer cases are found in stage III/IV, when cure rates drop to 5 percent and lower.”

“The most challenging aspect of this screening is determining what should be done if nodules are found,” says Dr. Lackner. “This is where our expertise comes into play. We have a long track record of performing lung cancer screenings and treating lung cancer patients.”

“Whether we biopsy the patient will depend on factors such as the size of the nodules and whether the nodules are increasing in size and multiplying,” says Dr. Lackner. “About 50 percent of the population will have lung nodules from exposure to things like fungus or respiratory tract infections, but only 2 percent of these individuals will have cancerous nodules.”

Nebraska Medicine lung cancer team uses a new minimally invasive biopsy technique called electromagnet navigation bronchoscopy – a computer-guided system that allows physicians to take multiple biopsies and determine immediately if they are cancerous. The biopsies are large enough to allow for mutation analysis and the development of customized chemotherapy. This procedure can also be used for pleural dye marking of nodules for surgical wedge resection, placement of fiducial markers for sterotactic radiotherapy and therapeutic insertion of brachytherapy catheters into malignant tissue.

“With this new technique, we can start therapy the very next day as opposed to a week or two later,” says Dr. Lackner. “In the past, we would have to wait for the biopsy results, followed by an outpatient surgery procedure to stage the tumor.” At the time of the diagnosis, Dr. Lackner says they can also perform an endobronchial ultrasound, a procedure that can be performed during the bronchoscopy to stage the lung cancer. “It allows us to view regions of the lungs and surrounding chest area that have traditionally required more invasive surgical procedures to evaluate,” says Dr. Lackner. “If the lymph nodes are negative but the tumor is positive for cancer, we can perform surgery to remove the cancer at the same time. No one else in the area is doing it this way.”

Nebraska Medicine lung cancer team also treats some of the sickest and most complicated patients that other hospitals won’t treat. “Because of our experience and dedicated expertise, we are comfortable treating the elderly as well as high-risk patients who have had other complications like heart disease, lung disease or other medical problems.”

“We’re the only ones in the area who routinely perform surgery on stage III lung cancer patients after chemotherapy and radiation,” he says. “We also have an active program for performing minimally invasive lobectomies and segmentectomies.”

The lung cancer team also includes a certified tobacco treatment specialist who can provide one-on-one smoking cessation counseling. “I tailor the program to the patient’s needs and past experiences,” says Jill Selzle, PA-C, certified tobacco treatment specialist. “Studies show that pharmacological therapy and behavior modification alone are effective, but the combination of counseling and medication provides more effective results.”

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States and is the most preventable. It causes more deaths in women than breast, cervical, uterine and ovarian cancers combined. “I am hopeful that this new screening, combined with new diagnostic and treatment techniques will help turn those statistics around,” says Dr. Lackner.

Dr. Lackner works side-by-side with Apar Kishor Ganti, MD, a hematologist/oncologist specializing in lung, head and neck cancers, Karin Trujillo, MD, who with Dr. Lackner, are the only thoracic surgical oncologists in Nebraska with practices limited to cancers of the chest. The other members of his team dedicated to the care of lung cancer patients include oncologists Anne Kessinger, MD and Alissa Marr, MD, radiation oncologist Weining (Ken) Zhen, MD, pathologist William West, MD and radiologist Matthew DeVries, MD.

To learn more, make a referral or connect with a member of Dr. Lackner’s team call 402-559-5600 or visit us online at NebraskaMed.com/Cancer/Lung-Cancer.

Click on the icon below to learn more about upcoming oncology focused CME opportunities.oncology-cme

Drs. Oleynikov, Farritor win Game Changer Award

by Charlie Litton, UNeMed

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From left, UNL’s Shane Farritor, Ph.D., and UNMC’s Dmitry Oleynikov, M.D.

A surgical robot developed in collaboration between UNMC professor of surgery Dmitry Oleynikov, M.D., and Shane Farritor, Ph.D., professor of engineering at UNL, was recently named a prestigious Game Changer Award winner by the Robotics Business Review.
The annual Game Changer Awards were officially announced in San Jose, Calif., on Sept. 24, during RoboBusiness, one of the largest international robotics conferences in the United States.

The award-winning robot of Drs. Oleynikov and Farrior is the foundation of a University of Nebraska startup company, Virtual Incision, which recently raised more than $11 million in equity financing.

The two researchers developed a surgical robot that could turn highly invasive surgeries into laparoscopic procedures. The current focus is perfecting the robot’s ability for colon resection, a complicated surgical procedure that removes a damaged or diseased section of a patient’s colon. It’s a treatment for patients with lower gastrointestinal diseases such as diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or colon cancer.

“We are very excited to be among the group selected for the Game Changer Award,” Dr. Farritor said. “If you look at this group of winners, and at past recipients, it is an amazing honor to be included in this list.”

Entries were judged by a panel of Robotics Business Review and Robotics Trends editors as well as by distinguished experts from the International Journal of Advanced Robotics Systems (IJARS).

In 2014 the University of Nebraska system honored Drs. Oleynikov and Farritor with its prestigious Innovation, Development and Engagement (IDEA) Award.

Nebraska Medicine Earns National Pancreas Foundation Center Designation, 1 of 30 Centers in the U.S.

Only Hospital in Nebraska to Receive the Distinguished Honor

Nebraska Medicine has been nationally recognized as a National Pancreas Foundation Center (NPF) by the National Pancreas Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides support, research and education for those suffering from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Nebraska Medicine is the only hospital in Nebraska to receive this prominent designation, joining 29 other institutions across the United States.

“Our team is thrilled to be named the only NPF Center in the state of Nebraska,” says Nebraska Medicine pancreatic surgeon Luciano Vargas, MD. “Our pancreas program provides multidisciplinary, patient centered care for patients with different pancreatic disorders. The program has been made possible by a strong commitment and support from Dr. Alan Langnas and the leadership at Nebraska Medicine.”

NPF_LogoNPF Centers are awarded after a rigorous audit review to determine that an institution’s focus is on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatitis, treating the “whole patient” with a focus on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life.

“We are very humbled and proud of this achievement,” says Rosanna Morris, Interim CEO at Nebraska Medicine. “Having the NPF Center designation will help distinguish us as an institution whose focus is on providing the best and most innovative care possible for those suffering from pancreatitis.”

“Once an institution receives this designation, our foundation can recommend with confidence that patients will receive quality care at these designated Centers,” says Matthew Alsante, Executive Director of the National Pancreas Foundation.

An approved NPF Center has to meet the criteria that were developed by a task force made up of invited subject matter experts and patient advocates. The criteria includes having the required expert physician specialties such as gastroenterologists, pancreas surgeons, and interventional radiologists, along with more patient focused programs such as a pain management service, psychosocial support and more.

“It’s an honor for me to work with such a wonderful team of physicians,” says Sarah Ferguson, nurse coordinator for the Pancreas and Biliary Disorders Clinic at Nebraska Medicine. “Their dedication, expertise and compassion towards helping patients with pancreatitis is truly deserving of this national recognition.”

For a full listing of the criteria, please visit www.pancreasfoundation.org.

30 Designated National Pancreas Foundation Centers
•Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Health Network
•Banner University Medical Center
•Baylor University Medical Center
•Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
•Boston Children’s Hospital – Harvard Medical School
•Brigham and Women’s Hospital
•Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
•Geisinger Medical Center
•Hackensack University Medical Center/John Theurer Cancer Center
•Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
•Mayo Clinic Florida
•Mayo Clinic Rochester
•Medical University of South Carolina
•Medstar Georgetown University Hospital
•Nebraska Medicine
•New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia
•Pancreas Care Center, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
•Providence Portland Cancer Center
•Saint Louis University/ SLU Care Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases
•Stanford University
•The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
•UMass Memorial Medical Center
•University of Alabama at Birmingham
•University of Chicago
•University of Florida/UF Health
•University of Miami, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
•University of Michigan
•University of Minnesota
•University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
•Virginia Mason Medical Center

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