St. David’s HealthCare Announces St. David’s CancerCare

June 6, 2014

St. David’s HealthCare announced St. David’s CancerCare — a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to providing cancer services in Central Texas. St. David’s CancerCare — a partnership between St. David’s HealthCare and Sarah Cannon — is designed to provide integrated oncology care for patients within St. David’s HealthCare facilities. Sarah Cannon is the global cancer enterprise of HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) which facilitates a full range of physician-led, patient-centric integrated cancer care services in local markets and offers the highest level of quality standards, infrastructure, training and research for patients with cancer treated within affiliated partner facilities.

As part of St. David’s CancerCare, St. David’s HealthCare is opening a new oncology floor at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center dedicated to supporting oncology care. The new oncology floor will include 24 patient beds for cancer patients; a surgical oncology unit with universal beds, which will allow patients to stay in the same room from post-surgery to discharge; and a general oncology unit. It will also feature the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center for patients with blood cancers.

“In spite of the rhetoric in the community that Central Texans need to leave the region for cancer care, a vast array of oncology services has been available in Austin for some time, and today, we are closing the gap with the launch of St. David’s CancerCare,” David Huffstutler, president and chief executive officer of St. David’s HealthCare, said. “Working together with Texas Transplant Institute, Texas Oncology and Sarah Cannon, we are redefining the level and quality of cancer care that is available here in Central Texas.”

“As part of the Sarah Cannon Cancer Network of Excellence, St. David’s HealthCare offers patients access to a top-notch facility with exceptional physicians who provide a quality continuum of care, from screening and diagnosis through treatment and survivorship,” Fred LeMaistre, M.D., vice president and physician in chief of hematology for Sarah Cannon, said. “The level of cancer care expertise available in Austin allows patients to stay close to home and their support system, which is essential to every cancer journey.”

The new oncology space at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center will provide patients in the Austin region with a wide array of cancer services, including blood and marrow transplants (BMTs), allowing them to receive specialized care in Austin. It will feature physicians and nurses specially trained to treat cancer patients, customized oncology technology, oncology-trained nurse navigators, as well as nutrition and education services for cancer patients. It will also include an apartment-style waiting room and private consultation rooms for family members.

The cancer unit will also feature the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, which is uniquely structured to address the needs of Central Texas by bringing together recognized physician leadership in oncology care from Texas Oncology and Texas Transplant Institute®, a department of Methodist Hospital.

“When healthcare leaders work together to deliver integrated and leading-edge cancer treatment, patients in the Austin area benefit. That spirit of cooperation and collaboration created the opportunity to provide the full continuum of care for blood and bone marrow transplant patients, which is a major step forward in cancer care for central Texas,” Laurence Tokaz, M.D., Texas Oncology and medical director for the blood cancer center, said. “We are committed to exploring more opportunities to work with St. David’s HealthCare to bring even more advancements to patients here in our community.”

As part of this program, the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center performed its first adult hematopoietic stem cell transplant* — a type of BMT — earlier this year. The BMT procedure was performed on a 60-year-old woman with multiple myeloma. To date, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center has performed 12 BMTs, with seven additional procedures scheduled — exceeding its original estimate of seven in its first year.

The individual programs that form the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Network — a collaborative network of the country’s preeminent sites for blood cancer treatment — have long been recognized as national leaders in patient care and outcomes.

“The new oncology unit will allow us to provide cancer patients with coordinated, integrated oncology care, increasing the level of quality and ultimately improving patient outcomes,” Todd Steward, chief executive officer of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, said. “We are pleased to be able to bring this level of specialized cancer care to the Austin region.”

Adult BMT services — previously considered a missing link in cancer care services in Austin — are a result of the partnership between St. David’s HealthCare, Sarah Cannon, Texas Transplant Institute and Texas Oncology.

“Patients with blood cancers used to have to travel out of town for this procedure, where they would have to stay for many weeks, if not months,” Carlos R. Bachier, M.D., program director of the Adult and Pediatric Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Program at the Texas Transplant Institute and medical director of the new blood and marrow transplant program, said. “With this new service, Austin-area patients with blood cancers no longer have to live out of town for long periods of time — or travel long distances — for care.”

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center is also moving its outpatient clinic for adult patients who have blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma — as well as those who have received or will receive a BMT — to a new, larger space that is specifically designed for oncology patients. The new clinic space will provide patients with an outside entrance so they do not have to walk through the main hospital to get to the clinic while in an immuno-compromised state. The clinic, which opened in May 2013, will transition into its new space in June 2014.

The Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Center at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center is currently performing autologous transplants — procedures in which a patient’s own stem cells are used during the transplant. It will begin offering allogeneic transplants — a procedure in which donor stem cells are used — in the near future.

The new oncology unit is located on the sixth floor of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. The sixth floor was built during an expansion project that was completed in 2011.

*Hematopoietic stem cell transplants involve hematopoietic stem cells, not embryonic stem cells.