PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The statistics are stunning: 44 percent of American women will develop a life-threatening type of cancer in their lifetime.
On the other side of the ledger, the five-year survival rate for all cancers is now approaching 70 percent.
To that end, a major affiliation is now in the works between the Allegheny Health Network John’s Hopkins in Baltimore.
According to Allegheny Health Network officials, this affiliation will be beneficial to both health centers – and to Pittsburghers.
“What will happen is a lot of the cancer research trials that Hopkins has today that may not be available here, will become available to our patients in Western Pennsylvania,” Dr. Tony Farah, the chief medical officer at Allegheny Health Network, said.
And for Pittsburghers, that means access to possible new treatments, without traveling to another city.
“The plan is not to pluck patients out of their communities,” Dr. David Parda, the chairman of Allegheny Health Network’s Cancer Institute, said. “That is not good for their health and their overall well-being, including their financial well-being. It is rare cases where you would have to travel outside of the region to receive an advancing type of treatment.”
“We don’t want to deliver more care than is necessary, we don’t want to deliver less care,” Dr. Farah added. “And we feel that by affiliating with a very high quality academic medical center such as Hopkins, they share the same values we do and we and so the collaboration has been seamless, and with that we feel we can benefit the community.”
As for the dominant health care provider in Pittsburgh, this is the reaction from UPMC:
“With no UPMC contract, this is what competition is all about. We welcome it in the best interests of the community and look forward to competing on the basis of quality, cost and services provided to patients.”
And according to hospital consultant Stephanie Dorwart, this competition is good for you.
It broadens your choice of providers and can rein in costs.
“By having an affiliation like this for Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins, now patients that develop a very trying situation in Pittsburgh can actually have more choice,” she said. “They can choose to work with UPMC or work with Allegheny Health Network and open up the opportunity to have access to Johns Hopkins.”