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Media Contact: Vincent Joseph Dollard
  vdollar@emory.edu
  (404) 727-3366
30 May 2008
Emory Winship Named Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) has named the Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers, focusing on complex inpatient and surgical care. Emory Winship is the only facility in the metropolitan Atlanta area to earn this designation.


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Blue Distinction is awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality healthcare. Building on the successful results of earlier programs focused on cardiac care, bariatric surgery and transplants, the program was recently expanded to include the designation of 85 Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers.

"We are honored to be recognized as a Blue Distinction Center by Blue Cross and Blue Shield," says Charles Staley, MD, director of surgical oncology at Emory Winship and Holland M. Ware Professor of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine. "This designation is a confirmation of the hard work and dedication to research and patient care that is exhibited every day by our faculty, nursing and administrative staff. We are very proud of this designation."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield assesses facilities on evaluation, treatment planning, complex inpatient care and major surgical treatments; all delivered by teams with distinguished expertise and subspecialty training for complex and rare cancers. The program focuses on the following 13 cancers, which cumulatively account for approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases annually:

  • acute leukemia (inpatient, non-surgical)
  • bladder cancer
  • bone cancer
  • brain cancer -- primary
  • esophageal cancer
  • gastric cancer
  • head and neck cancers
  • liver cancer
  • ocular melanoma
  • pancreatic cancer
  • rectal cancer
  • soft tissue sarcomas
  • thyroid cancer -- medullary or anaplastic

The evidence-based selection criteria used to evaluate facilities were developed in strategic collaboration with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and with input from a panel of expert clinicians. To be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers, Emory Winship met selection criteria including:

  • exceeds volume threshold for annual surgical cases treated
  • utilization of multidisciplinary team input for treatment planning, including sub-specialty trained teams
  • participation in ongoing quality management and improvement programs for cancer care
  • commitment to using clinical data registries and participating in relevant clinical research

"We commend the facilities that have been designated for treating complex and rare cancers," says Monye Connolly, president, BCBSGa. "Blue Distinction promotes the consistent practice of evidence-based medicine. The Blues are committed to working collaboratively with physicians and hospitals to raise the overall quality of healthcare in our nation. We understand that to deliver true patient-centered care, Blue Distinction Centers often need to coordinate care following a complex surgery or primary inpatient stay with patients' local physicians."

BCBSGa recognizes that the majority of patients' multidisciplinary treatment may be best accomplished by integrating the expertise available in a Blue Distinction Center with locally available treatment resources, especially for outpatient chemotherapy and radiotherapy, based on individual circumstances and patient preference. Optimal support of a patient's comprehensive cancer care needs may be achieved by coordination of care between the patient and their family, local physicians, the Blue Distinction Center and BCBSGa. For more information on additional criteria used for the designation visit www.BCBS.com.

For more information about complex and rare cancer care at Emory Winship call 404-778-1900 or visit www.cancer.emory.edu or www.emoryhealthcare.org. For more information about Blue Distinction Centers, visit www.BCBSGa.com.

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About Emory Winship Cancer Institute
As a leader in patient-centered cancer care and research, Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute (EWCI) serves as the coordinating center for a vast array of resources in medical, surgical, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, and the subspecialties of cancer care throughout Emory University--from blood and bone marrow stem cell transplants to groundbreaking surgical procedures.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is available at www.bcbsga.com.

© Emory University 2018

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