CHI Cancer Center Funding from National Cancer Institute Extends to Fifth Year

11/22/10 Press Release

Funding for five Catholic Health Initiatives cancer centers will be extended to a fifth year by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to continue its Community Cancer Centers Program, which aims to bring the very latest advances in cancer care and research to patients close to home.

The NCI Community Cancer Centers Program, a nationwide pilot program in state-of-the-art cancer care when it debuted in 2007, recently expanded in April 2010 to include 30 cancer centers in 22 states. Part of the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program’s pilot stage, the five CHI cancer centers and their NCCCP funding for the fifth year are: Good Samaritan Hospital, Kearney, Neb. ($106,757); Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Colorado Springs, Colo. ($106,085); Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center, Lincoln, Neb. ($81,626); Saint Francis Medical Center, Grand Island, Neb. ($107,683); and St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson, Md. ($97,849).

Another CHI hospital, Mercy Medical Center, Des Moines, Iowa, is one of 14 NCI Community Cancer Centers Program expansion sites awarded federal funding in 2010. Mercy received $1.8 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which also provided funding to CHI’s other five NCCCP sites -- $2.96 million to St. Joseph; $1.6 million to Good Samaritan; $1.5 million to Penrose-St. Francis; $1.1 million to St. Elizabeth; and $911,000 to Saint Francis.

“We are very pleased that more funding will be provided to these cancer centers to support the work they are doing to provide coordinated multispecialty care and clinical research opportunities to cancer patients,” said Peggy McKinney, CHI’s project lead for the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program.

The NCI Community Cancer Centers Program is a network of community-hospital cancer centers working to provide research-based cancer care spanning the full cancer continuum – from prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship through end-of-life care. The program is studying ways to give more patients access to the latest, evidence-based care close to where they live. For a variety of reasons, many cancer patients cannot commute to major academic medical centers for treatment. In fact, 85 percent of patients are diagnosed, and receive at least their first course of treatment, at a community hospital.

Participating cancer centers are addressing ways to reduce health care disparities, improve access to clinical trials, improve overall quality of care, develop an infrastructure to collect high-quality biospecimens such as blood and tissue samples for research, and link with national computer networks that support research. The centers also work to improve survivorship, palliative care services and patient advocacy. “CHI has adapted these best practices and applied them across the entire cancer continuum in our organization,” said Mark Krasna, M,D,, CHI’s principal investigator for the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program and physician advisor for cancer care.

About Catholic Health Initiatives: CHI is a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Denver. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2010, CHI provided almost $590 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. With annual revenues of approximately $9 billion, CHI is the nation's third-largest Catholic health care system.

* This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN261200800001E. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

We are very pleased that more funding will be provided to these cancer centers to support the work they are doing to provide coordinated multispecialty care and clinical research opportunities to cancer patients.

- Peggy McKinney, CHI’s project lead for the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program
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Michael Romano
National Director, Media Relations
p: 303-383-2720
e: michaelromano@catholichealth.net