Spitz is deputy director of MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden, New Jersey.
When the $100 million, four-story cancer center opened in October 2013, it represented a new partnership between MD Anderson and Cooper University Health Care, and a return to MD Anderson for Spitz.
“This partnership has been a remarkable success for patients, physicians and both institutions,” says Spitz, who also is vice chairman of Surgery for Cooper University Health Care, the clinical campus of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. The Cooper network is the leading provider of health services in Southern New Jersey and serves more than half a million patients a year.
Patient visits to MD Anderson in Camden and its satellite location in nearby Voorhees Township have been steadily increasing. Since opening, the two campuses together have served more than 55,000 new and established patients.
Something in common
Before partnering with MD Anderson, Cooper already had a sizable cancer program and planned to construct a new facility. It also had a goal to elevate the quality of its cancer care. Leadership and physicians there knew MD Anderson could help reach that goal.
“Our leadership wanted a relationship with an institution known for quality and excellence,” says Spitz.
Likewise, MD Anderson wanted confidence that that its standards would be met by the care provided at Cooper.
Through visits at both locations, MD Anderson at Cooper’s team of more than 30 physicians specializing in urology and medical, radiation, surgical and gynecologic oncology began building relationships with MD Anderson physicians in Houston and integrating its approaches to patient care.
“Our physicians were all in from the start,” Spitz says. “They want to provide the highest level of care and to learn from the best cancer team in the world. They wanted to take our cancer care to the next level and they’ve done that.”
Clinicians at both locations have developed strong relationships. MD Anderson clinicians in Houston routinely collaborate on tough cases with Cooper physicians, and work together to decide the best approach to care. The result has been improved clinical care and a better patient experience.
“Standardization helps patients. And when it’s a gold standard like MD Anderson, it makes the care even better,” says Spitz. “It’s remarkable. Now it’s become the expected.”