HELENA — A new partnership between St. Peter’s Health and the University of Utah (U of U) aims to improve care for cancer patients in Montana.
On Monday, St. Peter’s announced they will affiliate with U of U’s Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). HCI is the only National Cancer Institute Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West.
The affiliation will mean patients undergoing cancer and hematology care in Helena will have access to a broader variety of treatment options along with top cancer experts at HCI.
"We share a vision with Huntsman Cancer Institute to strengthen and expand the availability of cancer care in our local community, so patients can receive more advanced treatments locally and have fewer expenses or delays because of the need to travel to a major city,” said St. Peter's Health CEO Wade Johnson. "This is an incredible opportunity to leverage technology and our existing affiliation with University of Utah Health to connect people here with some of the nation’s top oncology and hematology specialists. The expertise and support that a renowned cancer program like HCI can provide a small community like Helena is a significant advancement in our ability to provide gold standard oncology care."
St. Peter’s Health has partnered with U of U since 2018 for other telehealth services such as TeleICU and TeleBurn
Johnson says the new partnership with HCI will also help patients avoid the need for travel to receive consultation or care regarding rare and complex cancers.
“We’ve learned a lot over this last year with COVID about telemedicine and how effectively it can work,” said Johnson. “So this relationship will help patients be able to stay closer to home for their care.”
The main HCI campus is in Salt Lake City, and with the addition of St. Peter’s Health, HCI now has six affiliate cancer centers across the Mountain West region. All affiliates are independent, not-for-profit health systems.
"We are honored to work with St. Peter's Health in service of cancer patients in Montana," said Don Milligan, MBA, executive director of the HCI Hospital. "Our organizations share a commitment to enhance the standard of care for patients and their families. We look forward to working with the teams at St. Peter's Health to bring world-class cancer expertise, along with their unique insights and experience, to further improve the standard of cancer care in Montana."
The partnership will also allow for more educational and training opportunities for St. Peter’s staff.