Keck Medicine of USC has announced a new partnership with Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Orange County to establish new cancer and oncology services at the Hoag Family Cancer Institute and, eventually, other locations in Orange County.

The new Hoag/USC partnership marries Orange County’s largest community cancer program with the strengths of USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. The latest collaboration between the two leading medical centers promises to enhance patient care and services by significantly expanding cancer research and treatment — including advanced clinical trials — in Orange County.

“This partnership is tremendously exciting,” said Tom Jackiewicz, MPH, senior vice president and CEO of USC Health. “We’re joining the best of academic medicine with the best of private practice, working together to make sure that the care close to home is the best possible, and also to ensure that the cutting-edge, advanced care and clinical trials at USC Norris are also accessible. Local is better for the patient, hands down. This partnership ensures that the best care will be delivered locally whenever possible, while also offering treatment at Keck Medicine of USC if needed.”

The new cancer and oncology services program is the latest — and undoubtedly the most significant — in a series of successful partnerships between Hoag and USC aimed at combining the resources and talent of both respected organizations, which have been collaborating on ways to better serve the health care needs of the region since 2008.

“This represents a durable partnership in an area of strength for both USC and Hoag,” said Shawn Sheffield, MBA, MHA, chief strategy and system development officer for USC’s medical enterprise, who played an integral role in affiliation negotiations, along with Darcy Spicer, MD, division chief of Cancer Medicine and Blood Disease, and others. “As we build on respective core competencies, later phases will be much more concrete, but this is an important initial step.”

Burton L. Eisenberg, MD, is the executive medical director of the new cancer program at Hoag.  (Photo/Courtesy Burton Eisenberg)

Burton L. Eisenberg, MD, is the executive medical director of the new cancer program at Hoag.
(Photo/Courtesy Burton Eisenberg)

John Ferrelli, who was recently hired as chief administrative officer of USC Norris Cancer Hospital, will manage the ongoing affiliation with Burton L. Eisenberg, MD, who has been hired as the executive medical director of the cancer program. Eisenberg will be based at Hoag and comes from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, where he served as deputy director and associate director of clinical research.

The announcement comes at a time when national health experts are calling for improved quality of care for cancer patients. Barriers to achieving excellent care remain daunting with demand for cancer care projected to skyrocket, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

“The implications of this agreement are far-reaching,” said Jack Cox, MD, senior vice president and chief quality officer of Hoag. “We are equally strong partners coming together to deliver cancer care in a new and different way in Orange County, with the potential to extend this new delivery model to our St. Joseph Health affiliate partners in the future.

Scott Evans, chief executive officer of USC Norris Cancer Hospital and Keck Hospital of USC, added, “USC Norris is a destination for patients seeking the most innovative cancer care. People drive miles — even fly across the country — just to see our physicians. Any opportunity to be closer to them makes our services more efficient and impactful. This coming together of two leading organizations is going to allow us to deliver patient care in ways Orange County has never seen.”

The cancer affiliation between USC and Hoag is the latest example of strategic alignments for Hoag, which formally affiliated earlier this year with St. Joseph Health to further expand its health-care services into the Orange County community.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, Tenn., Eisenberg will oversee development of infrastructure and standardized practices for the new program, as well as the identification, recruitment and retention of outstanding physicians specializing in oncology and oncology related services. The new cancer and oncology services program will include the development of a local research program and the expansion of access to ongoing USC Norris clinical trials for Hoag patients. These additional will occur as the program progresses.

“The increasing complexities of cancer care delivery as well as complete care of the cancer patient require a new multidisciplinary approach,” Eisenberg said. “The Hoag/USC aligned cancer programs will provide an innovative spectrum of cancer treatment. This includes better access to new cancer therapies, development of evidence-based standardized clinical pathways and informed cancer research choices that will be transforming in the years to come.”