WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has been named a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers (SM) by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). It is the only cancer center in the Triad, and one of only five in the state, awarded this designation.
As part of ongoing efforts to raise overall quality of health care in America, the new cancer designation is an expansion of BCBSA’s Blue Distinction® program. The expansion of the Blue Distinction designation to include the treatment of complex and rare cancers will help a very specific patient population in need of skilled and dedicated facilities that treat these complicated cancers.
“This is further affirmation of the foundation of our Comprehensive Cancer Center – bringing together experts highly-trained in treating specific cancers – to collaborate on identifying and administering the optimal treatment plan for each patient,” said Frank M. Torti, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Complex and rare cancers comprise approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases each year, making it difficult for consumers to locate or research an oncologist or surgical team that is experienced in treating these specific malignancies.
Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers are facilities within participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield network service areas that offer comprehensive inpatient cancer care programs for adults, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise in treating the following complex and rare subtypes of cancer:
• acute leukemia (inpatient/non-surgical)
• bladder cancer
• bone cancer
• brain cancer – primary
• esophageal cancer
• gastric cancer
• head and neck cancers
• liver cancer
• ocular melanoma
• pancreatic cancer
• rectal cancer
• soft tissue sarcomas
• thyroid cancer – medullary or anaplastic
The Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers designation is focused primarily on multidisciplinary treatment planning and complex, major surgical treatments.
Among other selection criteria, the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist met the following thresholds necessary to be named as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers:
• has multidisciplinary team input, including sub-specialty trained teams for complex and rare cancers and demonstrated depth of expertise across cancer disciplines in medicine, surgery, radiation oncology, pathology and radiology
• demonstrates ongoing quality management and improvement programs for cancer care
• demonstrates an ongoing commitment to using clinical data registries and providing access to appropriate clinical research for complex and rare cancers
• demonstrates sufficient volume of experience in treating rare and complex cancers
Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers were developed in strategic collaboration with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and input from a panel of leading clinicians and professional organizations. A total of 80 cancer centers across the country have been awarded this designation.
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Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Brenner Children’s Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine and Piedmont Triad Research Park. The system comprises 1,154 acute care, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and has been ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report since 1993. Wake Forest Baptist is ranked 32nd in the nation by America’s Top Doctors for the number of its doctors considered best by their peers. The institution ranks in the top third in funding by the National Institutes of Health and 4th in the Southeastern United States in revenues from its licensed intellectual property.
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