Expanding access to leading-edge care
Through the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network, patients in all corners of the state can receive the advanced care they need.
Now in its 15th year, the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network (MCCAN) is a model for programs in Kentucky and beyond. A collaboration with community hospitals, the Markey Affiliate Network ensures people of the Commonwealth and surrounding states have access to excellent cancer care close to home.
Patients at affiliate hospitals can be referred to Markey in Lexington for specialized surgery and other services, and doctors at Markey work closely with community providers to coordinate care.
“Being affliated with UK gives us the opportunity to use some of their more specialized services and providers that we wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.”
Dr. Samuel Bailey
“Combined with research opportunities and complex care that only an NCI-designated cancer center like Markey can provide, the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network benefits so many patients in need of advanced cancer care right here in Kentucky,” said Dr. Mark Newman, executive vice president for health affairs at UK HealthCare.
The affiliate network started in 2006 with three sites: Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana, St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead and Rockcastle Regional Hospital in Mount Vernon.
These hospitals are still members of the Markey Affiliate Network, which has grown to 19 sites. Markey provides cancer-specific education for providers at these sites and helps cancer programs achieve and maintain Commission on Cancer (CoC) accreditation. Dr. Timothy W. Mullett, medical director of the Markey Affiliate Network, said accreditation is a good benchmark for measuring the quality of cancer programs.
Specialized care close to home
Through the affiliate network, patients don’t have to travel far to access the latest treatments.
“The majority of cancer cases can be treated successfully in local communities if you have the right training, the right professionals and the right equipment,” said Cheri Tolle, administrative director of the Markey Affiliate Network.
Dr. Samuel Bailey, medical oncologist at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, said being part of the affiliate network benefits providers and patients. “Being affiliated with UK gives us the opportunity to use some of their more specialized services and providers that we wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.”
Setting the standard
The Markey Affiliate Network’s efforts have garnered the attention of other organizations, including the National Cancer Institute and the CoC, which developed a task force to look at improving the quality of rural cancer care programs. The University of Iowa, which is part of the task force, is using the Markey Affiliate Network as a model as it seeks to expand care in rural communities, and the NCI is particularly interested in how the network has helped UK recruit researchers.
Other service lines at UK HealthCare saw the success of the Markey Affiliate Network and developed similar collaborations, including the Gill Heart & Vascular Institute Affiliate Network and the UK/Norton Healthcare Stroke Care
Network. “Relationship building with community hospitals and their providers is crucial to the development of these networks, and MCCAN showed how this could be achieved,” Mullett said.