Munson Health
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 - Munson Oncologists Strengthen Collaboration with UMHS

Munson Oncologists Strengthen Collaboration with UMHS
Tumor board participation expands; northern Michigan patients will benefit

Munson Medical Center oncologists recently expanded their participation in weekly tumor boards with the University of Michigan Health University of Michigan Comprehensivce Cancer CenterSystem’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

This continues the institutions’ successful collaborations first marked by Munson’s Cancer Genetics program, which began with the expertise and support of the University of Michigan Health System’s Cancer Genetics program in Traverse City.

Munson oncologists began participating in University of Michigan Health System’s weekly liver tumor conferences in October 2013, and pancreas tumor conferences in February. The conferences allow Munson oncologists to connect with specialists and sub-specialists at the Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor to review and discuss the medical condition and treatment options for specific patients.

“These conferences allow Munson-based physicians to benefit from the collaboration and expertise of University of Michigan specialists,” says Peter Kohler, M.D., section chief of Hematology and Oncology at Munson Medical Center. “Munson oncologists are able to gain expertise and present cases from northern Michigan that will benefit northern Michigan patients. These patients in turn reap the expertise of these U-M specialists and may be able to avoid traveling to Ann Arbor unless medically necessary.”

The liver and pancreas tumor board collaborations represent another step toward broader participation in tumor conferences for other types of cancer and potential future collaboration on cancer care.

“We are excited to partner with our colleagues at Munson to provide our expert opinions on complex liver and pancreas cancer treatment plans right in patients’ own backyard,” said Kathleen Cooney, M.D., deputy director for clinical services at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The collaboration already has resulted in an agreement for CT image protocols between the organizations. This will ensure patients who receive their CT scans at Munson Medical Center will not need to have those scans repeated if referred for treatment to the University of Michigan Health System.

This most recent collaboration is the result of ongoing discussions about how the two organizations can work together to better serve the people of northern Michigan. Munson currently works with UMHS for the delivery of specialized health care services, that include:
• A pediatric rheumatology specialty clinic in Traverse City
• A recently expanded pediatric cardiology specialty clinic in Traverse City
• The appointment of Munson neurosurgeon Thomas C. Schermerhorn, M.D., to the University of Michigan Medical School faculty
• A cancer genetics program and specialty clinic in Traverse City