Beaufort Memorial Hospital forms affiliation with MUSC Health for cancer clinical trials

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Beaufort Memorial (BMH) has entered into an affiliation agreement with the Medical University of South Carolina Health System (MUSC Health) to provide clinical trials through the National Cancer Institute-designated Hollings Cancer Center. The agreement allows qualifying cancer patients to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials locally.

The hospital also transitioned from its 15-year cancer services affiliation agreement with Durham, N.C.-based Duke Medicine, citing a need to build a stronger relationship with MUSC, a tertiary medical center where many local patients already travel for specialty providers and treatments.

“As the need for more specialized care grows, it only makes sense for us to enter into arrangements with the best medical providers closest to home,” BMH President and CEO Rick Toomey said. “Many of our physicians and patients have had strong ties to MUSC for years, and this affiliation helps to both formalize our relationship and provide greater access for the community.”

The cancer program’s affiliation with Duke Medicine began in 2000. According to Toomey, the agreement with Duke was specifically designed to help the hospital build and develop a first-class cancer center to allow patients to stay in Beaufort for much-needed radiation oncology services. The result was the Beaufort Memorial Keyserling Cancer Center, a 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Port Royal, S.C., that offers both radiation oncology and chemotherapy services in one location. The center opened in April 2006.

“The relationship with Duke Medicine and its team has been invaluable to us and to the community,” Toomey said. “Our affiliation with Duke helped us achieve everything we hoped it would, and has positioned us to provide comprehensive cancer services to our patients.”

Under the affiliation agreement with MUSC, Beaufort Memorial will begin enrolling qualified cancer patients in clinical trials for colon, breast, lung and other treatments. The list of available trials will be announced soon and will expand as both the program and local need grow.

“Today’s dynamic health care environment calls for innovative collaborations to deliver the best care at the best location for the patient,” said MUSC Vice President for Health Affairs and MUSC Health CEO Patrick J. Cawley, M.D. “Often that means care delivered in the local community close to home and family, and other times the best outcome may require better access to the highly specialized services delivered at MUSC Health.”

MUSC Health, MUSC’s clinical enterprise, is a nationally recognized health system consisting of four inpatient facilities and more than 100 care settings across South Carolina. It is the state’s leading provider of telehealth services, and one of only 69 NCI-designated cancer centers in the country.

In collaboration with local care providers, MUSC Health develops and implements innovative models of care delivery with the common goal of enhancing the health of all South Carolinians. Beaufort Memorial began offering telehealth services in affiliation with MUSC last year. Today, those services are available for stroke and pediatric patients. The two institutions also have recently coordinated the location of pediatric subspecialties in the area.

For more information about cancer services available at Beaufort Memorial and the Keyserling Cancer Center, call (843) 522-7925 or visit beaufortmemorial.org.