This post comes to us from the new Medical Director of FMH’s Regional Cancer Therapy Center, Dr. Mark Soberman.
In my medical career, I’ve trained, visited and practiced in numerous hospitals around the country. I’ve been at FMH for about 6 weeks now and I can tell you, this is one special place. The commitment to getting it right is obvious. There is truly a feeling of family here. I am convinced that we can do great things and I am truly excited about creating and executing a shared vision for cancer care.
It’s no secret that health care is in a state of transition. Whether we like it or not, the Affordable Care Act will change how we deliver and pay for health care. Nowhere will that be more evident than in cancer care. Currently, cancer care is centered on providers, e.g. doctors and hospitals. There is variation as to how cancer is treated from one institution and one physician to the next. Now, to be fair, cancer is not one but many diseases, and making treatment recommendations is not always easy. That having been said, accurate diagnosis and staging are essential to planning and delivering the most effective treatment. Given accurate diagnosis and staging, evidence based guidelines for treatment are widely available.
Cancer treatment often involves medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, in delivering what we call multidisciplinary care. That means that physicians from various disciplines bring their expertise to bear and collaborate to deliver the best-coordinated care to the patient.
Frederick County is blessed with an engaged community, terrific doctors and a wonderful hospital led by an outstanding team. We have the opportunity and the obligation to invent the future of cancer care for this community. To that end, we are embarking on a journey to establish patient centered multidisciplinary care teams for most major tumor sites, employing evidence based treatment plans and utilizing FMH’s superb IT platform.
As we develop these care teams and pathways, we will creatively look at innovative payment models to align the goals of treatment with payment for that treatment. To look for evidence that we can do this, look no further than the Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic at the FMH Women’s Center at Crestwood.
We will also be looking at what new or improved infrastructure will be necessary to realize our goals. The cancer care of tomorrow cannot be delivered in yesterday’s facilities. Whether that means renovation of existing facilities, construction of new ones, or both remains to be seen. Bottom line, we have a unique opportunity. We will not fail to exploit it. More to come…