OSF HealthCare, Illinois CancerCare announce ‘enhanced collaboration’
OSF HealthCare and Illinois CancerCare have announced an “enhanced collaboration” to better deliver comprehensive cancer care for patients and their families in regions served by both independent entities.
At a July 21 press conference in the Path of Hope Tribute Garden outside Illinois CancerCare’s main location in northwest Peoria, the new relationship was called “a wonderful example of working and serving together for the overall good of the communities we both serve.”
“May God bless this new collaboration, the care teams, and all of the people who come to us for care . . . that they may come to know through us just how much God loves and cares for them,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, chairperson of the boards for OSF HealthCare.
Dr. Michael Cruz, chief operating officer of OSF HealthCare, emphasized that “OSF is not acquiring Illinois CancerCare, nor are they merging with us,” but that the deepened partnership is “the culmination of a great relationship” that has developed over decades.
When OSF HealthCare broke ground last August for its new cancer institute on the campus of OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois CancerCare announced it would locate its 15th satellite clinic at that site. The OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute is expected to open in early 2024.
Part of the enhanced collaboration announced July 21 is that Illinois CancerCare will now be “the premier provider” of hematology and medical oncology services for OSF HealthCare not only at the new institute, but throughout the central Illinois region.
Dr. Madhuri Bajaj, medical oncologist/hematologist and internal medicine specialist at Illinois CancerCare, will serve as medical director for the medical oncology/hematology program between OSF HealthCare and Illinois CancerCare.
“Our shared vision is to elevate cancer research in complementary fashion, translating into more lives saved or at least improved for our mutual patients and their families,” said Dr. Bajaj.
A current patient of both entities, Amy Schwanke, shared her personal cancer journey and gratitude for the care she has received leading to an excellent prognosis. Noting her tumor was found during a colonoscopy last year, she encouraged all to “get your screenings done as soon as possible.”
Dr. Michael Veeder reviewed the past 50 years of cancer care in Peoria and said the enhanced relationship between OSF HealthCare and Illinois CancerCare “lays the foundation for the next 20 to 30 years with more advancement, more treatment for cure, and hopefully much more prevention.” Dr. Veeder is a 41-year veteran of medical oncology and hematology with Illinois CancerCare. He noted that Illinois CancerCare had nine employees when he started. It now has more than 500.
EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the press conference have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.