Major Cancer Centers Form Network to Negotiate With Insurers

Oncology NEWS International Vol 4 No 2, Volume 4, Issue 2

NEW YORK--Thirteen of the nation's leading cancer centers have announced the creation of a national alliance that will develop and institute standards of care and clinical guidelines for the treatment of cancer and perform outcomes research.

NEW YORK--Thirteen of the nation's leading cancer centers haveannounced the creation of a national alliance that will developand institute standards of care and clinical guidelines for thetreatment of cancer and perform outcomes research.

The goal of the alliance, known as the National ComprehensiveCancer Network (NCCN), is to ensure the delivery of high-quality,cost-effective medical services to cancer patients across thecountry.

The NCCN will focus its long-term efforts on developing programsfor large employers and third-party payers for providing preventionservices and cancer care to individuals. Such national agreementswill ensure access to the latest in cancer treatment, as wellas cancer prevention and screening programs. Pricing would remainwithin the control of individual member institutions.

"The NCCN represents an extraordinary commitment by the country'sforemost institutions dedicated to the treatment of cancer,"said Joseph V. Simone, MD, medical director of the NCCN and physician-in-chiefat Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "We believe thatcollaboration is essential if we are to guarantee availabilityof high-quality services in a changing health-care environment,"he said.

The participants have made an initial commitment to invest $135,000a year for the next 4 years. The Network's office will be locatedat Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and Catherine Harvey, Dr.PH, an expertin cancer program administration, has been named executive director.

Task forces responsible for developing state-of-the-art practicestandards, outcomes research, and marketing are already at workat the various institutions. Standards of care currently underdevelopment include such areas as bone marrow transplantation,pediatric cancer, leukemia, and cancers of the breast and colon.

Martin D. Abeloff, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins OncologyCenter and editor of Oncology News International, said that thealliance brings together major cancer centers so that they candeal with changes in health care in a way that preserves theirmission not only to provide patient services but also to do researchand education.

"The alliance offers mechanisms for these cancer centersto negotiate in a unified manner with large employers or managedcare organizations," he said.

NCCN Participants

City of Hope National Medical Center

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Johns Hopkins Oncology Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Northwestern University/Lurie Cancer Center

Ohio State University Comprehensive/ Cancer Center

Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Stanford University Medical Center

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

University of Nebraska Medical Center