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Exciting New Partnership with Ohio State

LifeCare Alliance and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Center and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) announce a new partnership that will significantly enhance access to breast cancer screening and diagnostics for underserved individuals across Ohio.

A breast imaging team from the OSUCCC – James will begin providing breast cancer screening and diagnostic services at the LifeCare Alliance Cancer Screening and Support Center (formerly the Columbus Cancer Clinic).

Until now, LifeCare Alliance has provided cancer screening and diagnostic services independently, partnering with a number of medical and diagnostic professionals over the years – including Arthur G. James, MD, for whom The James is named and who served as medical director of the Columbus Cancer Clinic for more than 33 years. This new partnership with the OSUCCC – James centralizes and streamlines the breast cancer screening and follow-up process for the thousands of women served by LifeCare Alliance annually. Through this partnership, patients will have access to advanced screening mammography tools and an electronic medical record system for follow-up communication and care coordination.

“We see this partnership as a critical step for us in sustaining our 103-year commitment to cancer health equity,” said Charles W. Gehring, president & CEO of LifeCare Alliance. “This working relationship with the OSUCCC – James will significantly improve our ability to communicate with patients, provide referrals, share information with providers, and seamlessly help clients access the care they need following a cancer diagnosis.

“Access to follow-up care addresses one of the key social determinants in advancing cancer health equity. This partnership bridges the gap between diagnosis and treatment, and we couldn’t be more proud to be taking these next steps in the agency’s storied history of helping the community battle cancer.”

Century-long commitment to providing cancer care to underserved
LifeCare Alliance provides critical cancer screenings to an underserved population. In 2023, 60% of patients served had no insurance and 11% were covered under Medicaid. Nearly all (98%) of the 4,260 screening and diagnostic services performed were for women; 28% of those seen were African American; 52% were Hispanic.

“Regular cancer screenings have been proven to save lives, and we believe everyone should have access to these routine services regardless of whether or not they have insurance or the ability to meet co-pays,” said Gehring. “We anticipate that this partnership with The James will greatly increase our capacity to serve even more of our community’s most vulnerable members.”

Amy Kerger, DO, a breast radiologist and vice chair of ambulatory services and business development at the OSUCCC – James, said she hopes expansion of this long-standing community partnership will help increase awareness and break down barriers to breast health care for the underinsured and uninsured.

“By working together to understand the barriers to care patients face, we can make more meaningful strides toward reducing the burden of cancer for all people in our community,” said Kerger.

Updated treatment facility, electronic medical record access
Another patient advantage to the partnership is that LifeCare Alliance Cancer Services becomes an Epic Community Connect Partner with the OSUCCC – James. This means LifeCare Alliance Cancer Services is adopting the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system. This not only allows for seamless integration with the OSUCCC – James, but also makes it possible for every patient to have single-point access (MyChart) to a comprehensive medical record that can inform care across many providers. Ohio State and LifeCare Alliance have been working together for the last six months on installation, training, and utilization of the Epic EMR platform.

The LifeCare Alliance Cancer Screening and Support Center is further undergoing physical upgrades to improve the patient experience, including the addition of a new mammography reading room, clinician workspace, registration, waiting and comfort areas, installation of a new state-of-the-art Hologic mammography unit, and a new diagnostic ultrasound room.

“These upgrades are possible through generous donations to our recently completed capital campaign and through congressionally directed federal funding sponsored by Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty,” reported Gehring.

He notes that this is truly a community-supported initiative and one that LifeCare Alliance believes is unique in the United States.

“To have a comprehensive cancer center partnering with a local free clinic to provide quality cancer screenings and access to care to anyone – regardless of their race, their immigration status, their gender identity, or their insurance status – is just one more thing Central Ohio can take pride in.”

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