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MD Anderson's Unusual Partnership Could Cut Care Costs

By Philip Betbeze  
   August 31, 2017

A unique partnership, the first with a physician-owned group practice promises to change cancer care and reduce its cost.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has been adding partners to its cancer network for at least six years in a bid to extend its reach nationwide.

A partnership with an independent physician group in New Jersey is the first of its kind and could potentially cut the cost of cancer care while keeping patients close to home, its oncology chief says.

In April 2016, New Jersey's Summit Medical Group announced a partnership with Houston's University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. At first glance, Summit's addition to the MD Anderson Cancer Network seemed identical to four other such partnerships signed since 2011 in Arizona, Florida, California, and at Cooper Health System in southern New Jersey.

But the Summit partnership, which covers the northern portion of the state, is unique in that it's the first with a physician-owned and governed group practice instead of a health system.

The 130,000-square-foot Summit Medical Group MD Anderson Cancer Center is its physical manifestation, and will open in April 2018 next to the medical group's new facility in Florham Park, NJ.

HealthLeaders recently spoke with William DeRosa, DO, its chief of oncology, about the partnership's implications on changing cancer care and reducing its cost. Following is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation.

HealthLeaders: How did the relationship between Summit and MD Anderson come about?

DeRosa: It's unique. Every major cancer center has its own approach. Some want to be regional. Cancer centers like Dana Farber (Boston) and Memorial Sloan Kettering (New York) have a regional presence with a national profile.

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

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