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Standalone Cancer Centers Challenged by Shifting Healthcare Landscape

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 21, 2012

Standalone cancer centers may be particularly vulnerable to shifting market pressures and healthcare reforms, and if they hope to survive they must demonstrate value and align themselves with the right partners, a new report says.

"It's the basic blocking and tackling response. How do you deliver greater value of quality and cost, and what is the strategic response, what is the right alignment to preserve long-term viability?" says Andy Ziskind, MD, a cardiologist and author of the brief Can Standalone Cancer Centers Survive?, published by Huron Consulting Group.

Ziskind believes that standalone cancer centers will have a harder time finding patients with the advent of integrated care.

"As health systems are integrating themselves more to create truly integrated delivery systems and they are hiring oncologists, they are trying more and more to keep their patients in the system," he says. "There is more resistance to cancer patients traveling to freestanding cancer centers. Also, a less but still relevant piece is the insurance models of narrow networks are growing. Narrow networks are here to stay, and that may limit access for some patients from an insurance perspective to go out of network."

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