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YRMC joins Mayo Clinic Care Network
Affiliation brings cutting-edge care
Yuma Regional Medical Center is now a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a partnership that will provide cancer patients in Yuma access to cutting-edge treatment and expertise close to home.
It's all part of the hospital's ongoing mission to provide the highest level of care close to home whenever possible for local residents and visitors, Pat Walz, president and CEO of YRMC, said during a news conference Tuesday.
The YRMC Community Cancer Center Board has been leading efforts to develop a local cancer program where Yuma patients can receive the services they need under one roof. This would include state-of-the-art testing and treatments they now have to travel out of town to receive.
“Mayo shares our vision,” Walz said, “that patients should be treated in their homes whenever possible.”
Being part of the Mayo Clinic family “gives us a connection with their research and development,” he said. “That's a big benefit.”
And now that YRMC is part of the Mayo Clinic family, that opens the doors to collaborations on other medical care options in the future, he said.
As for the cancer center itself, Walz said negotiations are ongoing for the location, but he is hopeful he will be able to announce it soon. He also hopes to break ground on the center in the spring. Construction would take about a year.
But even today, cancer patients in Yuma are already benefiting from the connection with Mayo, he said. Walz noted that Dr. Gregory Yang, medical director of Yuma Regional Cancer Center, has been collaborating with Mayo for the care of a couple of patients.
Mayo's role for patient care in Yuma will be to provide guidance in challenging situations, said Dr. Ruben Mesa, director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. On the other end of the spectrum, patients will have access to difficult procedures in Phoenix but receive most of their care in Yuma.
“We're trying to bring the level of cancer care to Yuma that is available in Phoenix,” Mesa said.
That will work two ways, Yang explained.
Yuma physicians can now connect with Mayo Clinic specialists on questions of patient health care using an electronic consulting technique called e-Consults. In addition, Yuma physicians will have access to Mayo-vetted medical information through the AskMayoExpert database.
“That provides a wealth of expertise we can draw on,” Yang said, not just at Mayo's hospital in Phoenix but also its facilities in Rochester, Minn., and Jacksonville, Fla. And that expertise is available at 2 in the morning or on the weekend, whenever a problem arises, he said. It also means patients here can receive the latest in chemo trials and cutting edge molecular drugs.
Founded in the late 1800s, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education, specializing in treating difficult cases (tertiary care).
But the philosophy remains “the needs of the patient come first,” said Dr. Wyatt Decker, vice president and CEO for Mayo Clinic Arizona. “As we grow and evolve the complex ways to treat, we never lose sight of that.”
Decker said Mayo officials had spent nine months getting to know YRMC and are confident they share the same commitment to the excellence of care of the patient. “Our vision is to lend our expertise at Mayo right here in Yuma.”
He said Mayo already had a relationship with YRMC through a stroke doctor program that provides emergency responders in Yuma with immediate communication with stroke experts at Mayo to begin treatment of a patient in the first critical minutes.
“I realized we were giving more rapid stroke care at YRMC than at the clinic,” Decker observed.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at email@example.com 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSJoyceLobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.