Executives from the Sansum Clinic and Cancer Center of Santa Barbara announced July 5 that the two nonprofit health groups are forming a partnership to bring more extensive services to cancer patients in the region.
The organizations started the partnership process in early 2011, and it’s set to be complete by the middle of September. Although patients at Sansum and Cancer Center won’t see a change at first — they’ll continue to see their regular doctors and go to appointments at the same buildings — the health nonprofits are making behind-the-scenes changes to enhance care and eventually provide cancer patients with more centralized care.
“When we started the process, we looked at our long-term strategic vision for cancer care in our community. We were looking at where we needed to position ourselves in the future,” Rick Scott, Cancer Center’s president, told the Business Times. “The conclusion that we came to was that we needed a large entity to partner with. We sat down with Sansum and shared our vision for oncology services. We had a conversation and saw that we shared a vision for the future and we shared values.”
A year and a half later, the paperwork is signed and the organizations are ready to combine their cancer services. All cancer care at Sansum Clinic will become part of the joint organization, which will continue to be called Cancer Center of Santa Barbara. The line “with Sansum Clinic” will be added to the entity’s name on logos, signage and printed materials.
All of Cancer Center’s employees will keep their jobs, but they will technically be on Sansum’s payroll.
The clinical operations of both organizations — including radiation, nuclear medicine and hematology — will merge. Fred Kass, director of research and wellness at the Cancer Center, told the Business Times the partnership has a number of clinical benefits. “The alliance means that we have all of the resources needed to attract good clinical trials and make new therapies available for patients in the area,” he said. “We’re in a position where we need to compete with other centers for trials and new drugs. With the unified research program, we’ll be a very attractive center.”