Penn State Hershey Medical Center announces affiliation

Agreement will provide access to the latest in world-class cancer research and treatments

Hershey, Pa. -- Leaders for Wyoming Valley Health Care System (WVHCS) and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center today announced a new Penn State Cancer Institute affiliation. The affiliation will enhance the outpatient clinical services available to cancer patients throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and strengthen the medical education and research efforts of both organizations.

The agreement means area cancer patients and Wyoming Valley Health Care System's medical oncologists now will have an expanded access to the very latest research findings, innovative clinical studies and new outreach programs. Furthermore, the combined clinical expertise of highly respected cancer specialists of Penn State Cancer Institute and Penn State Hershey, as well as that of Wyoming Valley Health Care System's highly skilled and experienced medical oncologists -- Bruce Saidman, chief of medical oncology/hematology, WVHCS; David Greenwald; Rajesh Nahar; and Karen Cooper -- ultimately means improved oncology care for all regional cancer patients.

"The affiliation brings the resources of an outstanding university and academic medical center to enhance and expand the delivery of comprehensive cancer care to patients in our region, and further solidifies the sharing of leading-edge medical knowledge and resources to greatly benefit the people we serve," said William R. Host, WVHCS president and chief executive officer. "We are delighted and proud to be a part of the Penn State Cancer Institute as the latest development in our commitment to further enhance regional medical care."

"This is an extremely significant affiliation that further complements and expands our successful partnership with Wyoming Valley Health Care System, which already includes neurosciences and pediatric subspecialties," said David S. Hefner, executive director and chief operating officer of Penn State Hershey Medical Center. "We are very pleased to work with Wyoming Valley Health Care System to achieve our shared goals of delivering the highest quality care, research, education and community outreach for cancer patients and their families."

Under the terms of the affiliation agreement, Penn State Hershey and WVHCS will jointly develop disease-management programs and specialized services, including a coordinated approach for referrals. As a major source of innovative clinical studies, the Cancer Institute affiliation will afford WVHCS and its medical staff access to a major source of clinical research studies and participation in a clinical trials network and protocol management involving other member and affiliation partner sites.

"For our patients, the affiliation with the Penn State Cancer Institute opens the door to a tremendous wealth of research, treatment and diagnostic options, as well as an ongoing exchange of expertise to better serve our cancer patients," said Bruce Saidman, section chief of WVHCS oncology/hematology and senior partner at Medical Oncology Associates. "For our physicians, it presents an opportunity to work closely with the medical center in areas of teaching and research and have available certain protocols and clinical trials not available in most community settings."

"We are extremely pleased to become an affiliate of the Penn State Cancer Institute and join other colleagues and cancer care specialists throughout the network to treat every patient with the best cancer care available," added David Greenwald, senior partner of Medical Oncology Associates and the region's most veteran medical oncologist.

"Penn State Cancer Institute is committed to the prevention and early detection of cancer, the delivery of comprehensive cancer care and the education of health care professionals and members of the communities we serve," said Thomas P. Loughran, institute director. "We are very excited to welcome Wyoming Valley Health Care System as an affiliate and look forward to working together to fulfill our mutual mission."

Penn State Cancer Institute comprises four partnering institutions: Penn State at University Park, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network in Allentown and Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College. The institute's mission includes clinical care, research, education and community outreach. Together, more than 5,800 new cancer patients are treated each year through the institute's facilities. With the addition of Wyoming Valley Health Care System's more than 1,200 new cancer patients per year, the institute now will treat an average of more than 7,000 new cancer patients every year.

Unique to the institute is its network of comprehensive outpatient cancer services that are available in rural areas to patients who may otherwise be underserved by urban cancer programs. Through the affiliation, The Penn State Cancer Institute delivers comprehensive cancer services throughout central, eastern and northeastern Pennsylvania, making it one of the largest cancer institutes in Pennsylvania.

Currently, WVHCS and Penn State Hershey enjoy a highly successful partnership that provides the region access to pediatric specialty services through Penn State Children's Hospital and neurosciences services through Penn State Hershey and Penn State College of Medicine.

About Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Founded in 1963 through a gift from The Milton S. Hershey Foundation, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is one of the leading teaching and research hospitals in the country. The 479-bed medical center is a provider of high-level, patient-focused medical care and annually admits more than 25,000 patients. The medical center sees another 740,000 patients on an outpatient basis each year. The medical center campus also includes Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Children's Hospital, the region's only children's hospital.

About Wyoming Valley Health Care System

With its inception in 1992, Wyoming Valley Health Care System became Northeastern Pennsylvania's largest and most comprehensive health-care delivery system. Founded as the result of a merger of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Nesbitt Memorial Hospital, two of Wyoming Valley's oldest health-care institutions, Wyoming Valley Health Care System is a network of leading health-care providers serving hundreds of thousands of residents throughout the region. Wyoming Valley Health Care System offers comprehensive services in behavioral health care; long-term care; in-home nursing, personal and hospice care; outpatient testing; and tertiary level care at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Northeastern Pennsylvania's largest community hospital and regional medical center.

About Medical Oncology Associates

Relying on more than 30 years of experience in providing oncology care services, the staff at Medical Oncology Associates uses the latest, most advanced treatments and patient care technologies available to provide individualized and multi-faceted care to every patient. Medical Oncology Associates employs the region's most experienced and highly trained team of medical oncology physicians, nurses, counselors and office staff to provide a caring, innovative and proactive approach to preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer in the Greater Wyoming Valley community and beyond.

Last Updated March 19, 2009