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  • Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital Recognized for Treatment of Complex and Rare Cancers

  • On March 11, 2008, Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital were named Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Rhode Island and The Miriam are the only two hospitals in the state to receive this distinction.

    Complex and rare cancers comprise approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases each year, making it difficult for patients to locate or research facilities with oncologists or surgical teams that are experienced in treating these specific malignancies.

    "We're pleased to receive this distinction for our program as it reflects our dedication to providing the highest level of cancer care even in unusual or complicated cases," says Fred Schiffman, MD, medical director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. "This important achievement is further recognition of the excellent care patients of Rhode Island have access to while remaining close to home."

    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 complex and rare subtypes of cancer. Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital were both recognized for excellence in treating esophageal, gastric, liver, pancreatic, rectal and thyroid (medullary and/or anaplastic) cancer. In addition, Rhode Island Hospital was recognized for its treatment of acute leukemia and brain cancer.

    Among other selection criteria, the hospitals met the following thresholds necessary to be named as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers:

    • 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
    • Ongoing quality management and improvement programs for cancer care
    • Ongoing commitment to using clinical data registries and providing access to appropriate clinical research for complex and rare cancers
    • Sufficient volume of experience in treating rare and complex cancers

    Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Caners were developed in strategic collaboration with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and input from a panel of leading clinicians and professional organizations.