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Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Gibbs Cancer Center, Bon Secours St. Francis Join Forces to Fight Cancer

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Gibbs Cancer Center, a partner with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and an affiliate of M.D. Anderson Physicians Network, has joined forces with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System to expand world-class oncology services and clinical research in the Upstate.

Gibbs, a known leader in community-centered cancer care, is home to a growing clinical research division.The alignment of cancer core resources and treatment between the two systems initiates a relationship that will advance clinical integration, bolster quality and extend new opportunities for both patients and providers for advanced treatment and research unparalleled in the area, CEOs for both institutions said.

The partnership, which was made official this week, is rooted in shared goals for the further development of research and cancer services, with an eye towards increased efficiency and reduced costs and seamless transitions of care.

“This is a collaboration to fight cancer,” Bruce Holstien, President and CEO of Spartanburg Regional, said. “Opening new doors in the fight against this dreadful disease means many things: Improved access, personalized cancer care and the best new treatments. Joining forces with St. Francis is about the best of the best working hard to get even better at combating cancer.”

Gibbs’ reputation and clinical affiliations, including NCI’s Community Cancer Centers Program, elevates the level of care and expertise needed to find a cure, Mark Nantz, President and CEO of Bon Secours St. Francis, said.

“This is about providing our patients evidence-based medicine and enhanced clinical trials,” Nantz said. “Gibbs and Spartanburg Regional are the clear leaders in community cancer care and clinical research. “We are pleased to be their partner and look forward to pursuing new advancements in treatment, and the increased connectivity to established leaders like NCI and M.D. Anderson.”

When viewed against the changing dynamics in the healthcare industry, the exploration of collaborative clinical integration opportunities is a positive step, Holstien and Nantz said.

Specifically, the relationship between Gibbs and St. Francis is organized around shared goals of new clinical services and programs, supportive care services, operational support, quality support, research, education and community outreach. A combination of administrators and physicians will help the organizations in the continuing investigation of potential treatments that can be offered through the partnership.

Research and community outreach are a point of difference that will not only benefit patients locally in the Upstate, but across the country, as well. In 1983, the National Cancer Institute named Spartanburg Regional one of its original 50 sites for its Community Clinical Oncology Program, which conducts research. Today, the program at Gibbs is called the Upstate Carolina CCOP and it remains one of the original programs continuing participation in the program

“St. Francis is a natural partner for us as we look for ways to collaborate with multidisciplinary care and clinical research and further strengthen cancer care in the Upstate,” Dr. James D. Bearden III, Vice President for Clinical Research, and Managing Physician at Gibbs. “We’re very excited and thrilled for the community.”

“It is a tremendous milestone when two of the strongest centers of excellence for cancer care in our region come together focused on a single goal:  ‘What is the absolute best we can achieve for each patient?’ ” offers Dr. Gary Spitzer, Medical Director of Oncology at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. “The strength of this exceptional partnership means that both organizations will be able to offer patients an even broader range of the most advanced treatment plans—giving them options for their care that is equivalent to any of the leading cancer centers in this country and close to home.”

“It’s these two partners which make this effort so powerful,” adds Camilla Hertwig, Chair of Bon Secours St. Francis Health System Board of Directors. “It’s a fusion of the recognized accomplishments of the Gibbs program joining with our St. Francis’ commitment to excellence and our passion to deliver quality patient care through a healing ministry.”     

The agreement to work together is a first and important step in the process towards greater collaboration on a number of clinical frontsto better serve each institution’s respective communities, said Rob Gregory, Chairman of Spartanburg Regional’s Board of Directors.

“This is groundbreaking territory,” Gregory said. “It puts the patient first, and allows those seeking care to know that the treatments they are receiving, and those administering those treatments, are leaders in their field. We continue to distinguish our care, and this partnership pushes us forward to new pathways. Research is the lifeblood of our continuing development, and we are confident in our shared commitment to success.”

“There is much more to come,” Dr. Julian C. Josey, Chairman of Radiation Oncology at Gibbs, said. “These goals represent doors that are opening, and we’re excited about the advancements that we can engineer by working together. This really means more for the future than it does now. Gibbs and St. Francis are dedicated to the advancement of a cure and saving lives.”

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