WASHINGTON--Community hospitals gain immensely in enhanced patient
care when they form partnerships with universities, Allen S. Lichter,
MD, said at the annual national meeting of the Association of
Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). The benefits of such a joint
venture, however, flow both ways, said Dr. Lichter, chairman of
the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan.
Currently, his department provides radiation oncology services
for the Veterans Administration hospital in Ann Arbor, Providence
Hospital in Southfield, and Foote Hospital in Jackson.
The University of Michigan has recently agreed also to a joint
venture in radiation oncology at Michigan Capital Medical Center
in Lansing, which includes the participation of Michigan State
University, and another at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills.
"All of our sites have multicollimated machines and perform
conformal radiation therapy," Dr. Lichter said. "They
can do everything we can, except stereo-tactic radiotherapy."
The hospitals are all within about an hour's drive of Ann Arbor,
and Dr. Lichter regards such proximity as vital to supplying the
facilities with state-of-the art radiotherapy services. This includes
the services of on-site radiation oncolo-gists, who remain an
integral part of his department.
"All of the physicians are full-time faculty at the university,"
Dr. Lichter said. "They rotate back to the university at
least one day a week so that they can stay involved in our program.
We try to make sure that we are practicing the same type of radiation
oncology at all sites."
In addition, the physicians get together for journal clubs, guest
speakers, and educational sessions." We do weekly chart rounds
at each of our satellites. All of this helps produce an extraordinary
uniformity in patient care," Dr. Lichter said.