High-quality care, close to home
The recipe for conquering cancer across Kentucky calls for a special, essential ingredient: collaboration.
Through its affiliate network, the UK Markey Cancer Center collaborates with community hospitals to expand access to high-quality cancer care in the Commonwealth and surrounding states.
Started in 2006, the network provides 21 affiliate hospitals with programs and services that expand local healthcare options and ensure the highest level of patient care. The affiliate network model allows people to receive highquality cancer care close to home, while also connecting them to specialized treatment at Markey when it’s needed. The network program includes:
- An affiliate liaison to help patients and caregivers visiting Markey
- Professional education and training for cancer team members
- Quality assessments and improvements
- Community outreach, including screening and prevention programs
- Marketing and public relations
- Access to specialized programs, such as telegenetic counseling
Standarized, high-quality care
As Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institutedesignated cancer center, Markey is dedicated to improving cancer care throughout the state, which has some of the nation’s highest rates of lung and other cancers. Through the affiliate network, Markey works with network hospitals to achieve and maintain Commission on Cancer (CoC) accreditation.
“These high standards are key to delivering outstanding cancer care throughout the region and make it possible for patients to receive much of their care without leaving their home communities,” says Dr. Timothy Mullett, medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate and Research Networks. Mullett was recently named chair-elect of the national CoC.
“We know that a lot of cancers can be treated locally with the right professionals, the right equipment, and the right standards of care,” says Cheri Tolle, MAEd, CHES, administrative director of the Markey Affiliate Network. “We want to help our community hospitals maintain high-quality cancer care and keep patients at their local hospitals whenever possible.”
Connecting patients with Markey
Keeping people close to home minimizes disruptions to their lives and keeps them near vital support systems. But depending on the capabilities of their community facilities and their diagnosis, they may need referrals to Markey for specialized surgeries and treatments, clinical trials, or consultations for complex or hard-totreat cancers.
“We want to help our community hospitals maintain high-quality cancer care and keep patients at their local hospitals whenever possible.” CHERI TOLLE, MAEd, CHES
The affiliate network’s Affiliate Liaison Program connects patients with Markey providers, ensuring a smooth transition from the community hospital to the academic medical center setting and encouraging follow-up care with community providers whenever possible.
Stephanie Malicote, BSN, RN, OCN, CCRP, has provided assistance for more than 600 patients from all 21 affiliate sites since the Affiliate Liaison Program began in May 2017. An oncology certified nurse with a background in research, Malicote provides a central point of contact at Markey for affiliate hospitals, serving as a conduit between referring physicians and Markey providers. In this role, she also:
- Offers support and guidance for patients before, during and after their care at Markey
- Helps patients get the answers and information they need about their condition
- Facilitates referrals, testing, treatment and follow-up care
- Meets with patients on their first visit to Markey
- Connects patients with needed resources, such as support groups, lodging, transportation, gas cards and financial aid
Both patients and community hospitals benefit from the collaboration and relationships established through the affiliate network.
“While patients may need to come to Markey for specialized treatments or surgeries, we also want them to receive as much care at home as they can,” Malicote says. “But when they are here, it’s a plus for patients to have that one person here who is a go to and that can help them with any questions. UK is huge and patients usually come from smaller communities, so it’s good to have that one contact that can help guide them through our system.”