As Seen in the Tri-City Herald: Northwest Cancer Clinic announces partnership

Northwest Cancer Clinic and 21st Century Oncology have announced a joint venture partnership that will give Southeastern Washington oncology patients access to greater resources in the treatment of their cancer. Below is the story that was published in the Tri-City Herald.

BY SARA SCHILLING

Northwest Cancer Clinic has formed a partnership with the largest radiation oncology services provider in the country — a move that will allow the Kennewick practice to maintain its independence while tapping into the larger network’s buying power and research resources.

The partnership with 21st Century Oncology was announced Monday.

“We began talking about a partnership as we realized that cancer care was becoming more sophisticated every day and we didn’t want people here locally to feel like their care was falling behind,” said Dr. Sheila Rege, Northwest Cancer Clinic medical director, in a statement. “Navigating health insurance is also becoming more complicated and this partnership will provide more patient resources and be a great benefit for our patients.”

The clinic is “always striving to do what’s best for the community and our patients” and the partnership “is one more step that helps us” continue to do so, Rege added in an interview.

In a separate statement, 21st Century Oncology said it is “proud to enter into this joint venture partnership” with the Kennewick clinic.

“Both organizations share a common goal of delivering high quality cancer treatment to patients on the community level in convenient and comfortable settings. This partnership will connect cancer patients in the Tri-Cities area with national resources through 21st Century Oncology’s vast network, including access to clinical trials through partnerships with Yale School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School,” the statement said.

Rege said the partnership also will allow Northwest Cancer Clinic to leverage 21st Century Oncology’s buying power when it comes time to upgrade equipment. The clinic currently uses top-of-the-line technology, but “you have to look forward,” she said. “If something else comes up, you want to be able to (secure) it for your patients.”

And 21st Century Oncology also has training programs for radiation technologists and dosimetrists, giving the local clinic access to that talent pool, Rege said.

“We’re really excited,” she said. “It’s the best of both worlds. It’s a true partnership.”
21st Century Oncology has its headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., and operates 150 treatment centers in the U.S., plus 35 centers in Latin America.

Northwest Cancer Clinic opened on West Deschutes Avenue in spring 2012. Its three physicians — Rege, Dr. Robert Chin and Dr. Eugene Hong are on staff — treat cancer using targeted radiation. The practice is the only one in the Tri-Cities with national accreditation in radiation oncology.

As the health care landscape changes, more independent practices and networks are aligning with larger providers.

It’s a pattern that’s repeated in the Tri-Cities. In the past year, for example, Richland-based Kadlec Health System affiliated with Providence Health & Services, which operates in five states, and Kadlec and the Kennewick-based Trios Health welcomed independent physician practices into their folds.

Read the full story on the Tri-City Herald website by clicking here.