First UT System clinical collaboration launches between MD Anderson, UTMB Health

Event celebrates new building, expanded services, cooperation to better serve patients

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today formally opened a four-story facility in League City that houses new and expanded cancer care services and a first-of-its-kind clinical collaboration with The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB Health). Supported by an initiative of The University of Texas System to spur collaboration, the partnership between the two UT health organizations will provide more convenient local access to specialized, multidisciplinary cancer diagnostics and care, as well as routine check-ups, cancer screenings and survivor followups for residents in the growing region.

Gathering to celebrate the milestones today were UTMB Health President Dr. David L. Callender, MD Anderson President Dr. Peter WT Pisters, The University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken, UT Regents Janiece Longoria and David Beck, Student Regent Brittany Jewell, League City Mayor Patrick Hallisey and about 150 guests, including faculty, staff and patients. A colorful piece of art representing the spirit of integration and collaboration was unveiled in recognition of the occasion. Created by San Antonio artist Constance Lowe, the piece will be displayed where the UTMB Health and MD Anderson buildings intersect on the League City campus.

 The new 200,000-square-foot MD Anderson facility features expanded services, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, diagnostic pathology/labs, pharmacy, infusion therapy, multidisciplinary clinics, pain management, nutrition and social work. New services at the League City location include a full complement of radiology services such as mammography, CT, combined PET/CT, MRI and other technologies.

 “The opening of MD Anderson League City marks a new chapter in our effort to offer high-quality care to patients close to home. Not only will patients receive their care and see their teams in a spacious new building, but they will benefit from a new clinical collaboration between MD Anderson and UTMB Health,” said Pisters. “Working together, our organizations with long histories of outstanding patient care will reach out to more patients with a broad range of services, provide a better experience and strive to end cancer.”

The collaboration between the two UT organizations is the first clinical partnership formed under The University of Texas System’s initiative to drive more efficient and improved health care for Texans. Announced in 2015, the collaboration initially included MD Anderson leasing space on the UTMB campus and the two working together to provide clinical care -- from screening to survivorship. Today, the collaboration is evolving to include deeper clinical integration as well as educational and research opportunities. MD Anderson also has a full clinical partnership with UT Health – San Antonio.

 “This collaboration of two world-class institutions coming together for the good of Texans exemplifies the mission of the University of Texas – to serve the people of our state,” Chancellor Milliken said. “I’m immensely proud of the work done by Presidents Pisters and Callender and their teams. This new clinical partnership ensures that patients will benefit from the expertise and unparalleled care provided by UT MD Anderson and UTMB without having to leave the support of their families and communities - an important part of the treatment and recovery process.”               

Under the collaboration, 41 UTMB Health faculty and staff members who work in medical oncology, gynecologic oncology and radiation oncology at the League City and Galveston campuses have become MD Anderson employees. Additionally, MD Anderson now provides medical oncology, radiation oncology and gynecologic oncology care to patients seen at UTMB Health’s Galveston campus.

 “We are extremely proud and excited to be collaborating with a UT System health institution to provide easier access to high-quality care,” said Dr. Callender. “The expertise that MD Anderson and UTMB provide will greatly enhance and expand the health care services that will be available for residents in this area.”   

Since Sept. 16, when the new League City facility opened to patients, care teams have been integrating to maximize resources and ease patients’ transition. Faculty and staff work in open-space environments designed for collaboration and impromptu discussions. The new facility has 150 open workspaces, eight huddle rooms, two large collaborative rooms and two conference rooms. Collaboration was a key priority for the team that advised planners and designers. 

The League City facility features a new check-in technology that allows patients to scan their palms to verify identity and secured medical information. The technology is new to MD Anderson, and is expected to be installed in new facilities in West Houston and The Woodlands in 2019.

MD Anderson has had a presence in the Bay Area since 2007 when it opened a radiation oncology service. It later added medical oncology and other disciplines. Previously located in a 40,000-square-foot leased space in Nassau Bay, the new MD Anderson Cancer Center League City clinic is five times larger -  approximately the size of the clinical area of the Mays Ambulatory Clinical Building on MD Anderson’s Texas Medical Center campus.