News & Events
September 22, 2016
Florida Cancer Specialists Physicians Participate in “Stand Up to Cancer”
Fort Myers, FL – September 22, 2016……… The 2016 Stand Up to Cancer television special raised over $111 million in pledged donations to help fund cancer research. The telecast, which aired simultaneously on 60 networks and streaming services in the US and Canada, included several interviews with Florida Cancer Specialists physicians on local stations. Doctors Shachar Peles (West Palm Beach), Scott Tetreault (Tallahassee) and Sumithra Vattigunta-Gopal (West Palm Beach) were invited to appear on the local telecast to inform viewers about the importance of clinical trials research across the state.
View Dr. Shachar Peles Video
View Dr. Scott Tetreault Video
View Dr. Sumithra Vattigunta-Gopal Video
View Video Release
View Photo Gallery
Brooksville Office Brings “Next Generation” PET/CT Technology to Hernando County
Brooksville, FL – September 22, 2016……… Florida Cancer Specialists Brooksville location held an Open House to welcome its newest physician, Dr. Ayman Barakat, and to introduce the community to a new PET/CT scanner that represents a major investment in state-of-the-art technology that will benefit local cancer patients.
This new scanner, a Siemens mCT20, allows Florida Cancer Specialists to perform scans faster with less artifacts created by movement of the patient or from breathing. It also allows the technician to control and record the amount of radiation that each patient receives, so that the smallest dosage of radiation necessary can be used and physicians can keep track of and monitor the amount of radiation a patient receives across all of their medical treatments, satisfying new health law requirements.
Ayman Barakat, MD
July 16, 2016
Dr. Padmaja Sai Chosen for “Heart & Soul” Award
Left to right: Dr. Padmaja Sai, Dr. Jeffery Smith and Dr. Delicia Haynes
Dr. Padmaja Sai, who practices at the Florida Cancer Specialists Palm Coast office, received top honors this week in the annual Reader’s Choice Awards for the Daytona Beach News Journal.
Readers nominated their favorite “Top Doctor” and Dr. Sai was among the 24 area physicians recognized. Further, she also received one of the three highest awards – The Heart & Soul Award – for her remarkable rapport with patients. Congratulations to Dr. Sai!
July 6, 2016
Florida Cancer Specialists CEO Cites Practice Growth as Driver of Success
Benchmark Growth Strategy Benefits Patients and Bolsters Community Oncology
Chief Executive Officer
Fort Myers, FL – July 6, 2016……… Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) was highlighted in a recent article in Oncology Business Management, a healthcare industry publication for oncology professionals. The article also featured remarks from Florida Cancer Specialists CEO Brad Prechtl at the 2016 Community Oncology Alliance (COA) National Conference, held in Orlando, FL.
Prechtl was named FCS CEO in 2009, and during the past seven years, he has seen 27 independent oncology practices join the group. He cited the tremendous growth of the practice as a major reason for its success. “We’ll see 60,000 new patients this year alone. We’ll have over 1 million follow-up visits. We’re trying in the state of Florida to bring practices together to keep independent oncology alive and well,” Prechtl said.
Another important reason for FCS’ success, according to Prechtl, has been the company’s ability to lower its reliance on chemotherapy and broaden its footing in oncology pharmacy, which is playing a larger role in cancer treatment with the advent of new targeted oral drugs.
“We purchased over $1 billion worth of drugs in 2015,” said Prechtl. “Prescription fills average 2 to 4 days, a turnaround time that is of great significance to physicians and also to patients, who sometimes wait up to two weeks for a specialty pharmacy to package and deliver. The difference between 4 days versus 14 days can have an incredible impact on a patient’s health and well-being.”
June 18, 2016
Dr. David Molthrop Named “Outstanding Teacher” by Florida Hospital’s Residency Program
The Internal Medicine Residency Program of the Central Florida Division of Florida Hospital has named Dr. David Molthrop as one of its Outstanding Teachers of the Year. Dr. Molthrop, who practices in the Orlando Orange and Winter Park locations of Florida Cancer Specialists, received the award at the 2016 Residency Graduation ceremonies, held Saturday, June 18, 2016 in Orlando”
April 16, 2016
Florida Cancer Specialists Has Significant Impact at 2016 Community Oncology Alliance National Conference
Orlando, FL - April 16, 2016…… Several Florida Cancer Specialists’ Executive Board members, Executive Management, Senior Management and staff members were in attendance and speaking at the 2016 Community Oncology Alliance’s national conference, held in Orlando April 14 and 15, 2016. FCS had a significant presence and impact at the 1000 attendee conference, which offered clinical, business and advocacy tracks.
April 8, 2016
Sarah Cevallos Honored with Distinguished Service Award
Florida Society of Clinical Oncology Recognizes FCS Chief Revenue Cycle Officer
Orlando, FL - April 8, 2016…… Sarah Cevallos, Chief Revenue Cycle Officer for FCS, recently received the “Distinguished Service Award” from FLASCO (Florida Society of Clinical Oncology), based on her continued support of facilitating resolution of reimbursement issues with FLASCO for oncologists in Florida.
October 8, 2015
Nearly 500 Pharma Manufacturers Gathered to Discuss Industry Issues at
AmerisourceBergen’s ThinkLive 2015
Published in AmerisourceBergen – October 2015
Orlando, Fla. (October 8, 2015) - AmerisourceBergen's annual manufacturer summit, ThinkLive 2015, concluded today with a general session that included presentations from key executives, an awards ceremony and a keynote speech by Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia and became the first person in the United States to be treated for the disease. The two-day conference in Orlando, Fla. provided expert insights through topical discussions around pressing industry issues and forward-thinking strategies to help manufacturers navigate changing market dynamics.
“As a global healthcare solutions leader, we are focused on the rapid changes in our evolving industry and the impact those changes are making around the world,” said AmerisourceBergen President and CEO Steve Collis. “ThinkLive is a moment in time for our company to connect with our manufacturer partners and collaborate to improve product access, enhance patient care and increase efficiency throughout the healthcare supply chain.”
Collis presented remarks during today’s general session along with Peyton Howell, President of Global Sourcing and Manufacturer Relations, who discussed the power of leveraging relationships to enhance access and reach patients across the globe. Additional highlights from the conference included:
Shaping Healthcare Delivery Award - This award recognizes a provider, pharmacy or manufacturer that has demonstrated innovation and leadership - in collaboration with AmerisourceBergen - that shapes the way healthcare is delivered locally, regionally or nationally. The 2015 winner is Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute.
Florida Cancer Specialists, which was founded in 1984 by Dr. William Harwin, is a leader in providing cancer care that shapes healthcare delivery. Today, with over 90 locations and more than 190 physicians, FCS is the largest independent private oncology practice in the country and the largest oncology physician dispensing site. FCS efficiently manages their drug inventory, working closely with oncology supply to ensure that wastage and inefficiency is minimized.
They have been a leader in working with ION GPO to use pharmaceutical contracts appropriately and influence the pharmaceutical industry. They have worked with technology venders to build and integrate practice management, an electronic health record, pharmacy dispensing system, and a financial reporting and practice management system.
Due to its growth and size FCS has also had to innovate and build its own operational processes in collaboration with its vender such as technology, training and implementation and revenue cycle management capabilities for processing over 2 billion in oncology claims with parameters that are the envy of the country. Florida Cancer is truly focused on shaping healthcare to support patient access to care.
“At Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, everything we do starts with considering the patient experience first,” said Brad Prechtl, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. “Receiving the 2015 Shaping Healthcare Delivery award is a true testament to our staff and the patients they care for every day, and we couldn’t be more proud.”
“In order for us to deliver the best care to our patients, we need to work with a distributor that keeps patients’ needs top of mind. AmerisourceBergen is exactly that type of trusted partner,” said Dr. William Harwin, President and Managing Partner of Florida Cancer Specialists. “We’ve collaborated with AmerisourceBergen’s ION Solutions Oncology Supply for many years and we value their commitment to independent physicians and practices. We’re honored to be their 2015 Shaping Healthcare Delivery award winner.”
Today’s general session also recognized manufacturers for excellence in multiple categories. Categories and winners were as follows:
Manufacturer Excellence Award – Consumer: Becton Dickinson
Manufacturer Excellence Award – Generics: Actavis
Manufacturer Excellence Award – Brand/Specialty: UCB Pharma
Trade Relations Leadership Award – Brand/Specialty: Peter Kamins, Merck and Company
Trade Relations Leadership Award – Generics: Teri Coward, Teva
Trade Relations Leadership Award – Consumer: Megan Kotalic, Crossmark
Best Product Launch Award – Brand/Specialty: Harvoni, Gilead Sciences
Excellence in Product Value and Innovation Award: Jay Watson & Erny Claxton, United Therapeutics Unituxin
Commitment to Patient Care Award: Carol Scholz, Johnson and Johnson
Participants attended breakout discussions on industry trends, challenges and opportunities related to brand, specialty, generic and consumer products. Two highly attended sessions included:
“A patient-centric approach to product commercialization” led by Amy Grogg, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Commercialization, AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group. The group discussed best practices to design and implement a commercialization strategy that coordinates and connects all healthcare stakeholders and is built around the diverse issues that impact patients at each phase of the treatment journey
“Driving product awareness and performance among a dynamic customer base” facilitated by Scott Robinson, Vice President, Product Strategy and Communication, AmerisourceBergen Switzerland. The session covered topics ranging from how perceptions of community pharmacy impact product commercialization to how pharmacists view the generics market
Panel Discussion: Chief Marketing Officer of AmerisourceBergen, Gina Clark, moderated a panel discussion with Bob Mauch, President of AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation; James Frary, President of AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group; Jim Cleary, President of MWI Animal Health; and Howell. The panel focused on how AmerisourceBergen delivers unexpected value throughout the supply chain and on the promise of pharmaceutical care through offerings such as clinical trial logistics and reimbursement support and continued investments in IT and infrastructure.
ThinkLive is an annual conference hosted by AmerisourceBergen that is focused on providing pharmaceutical manufacturers with integrated, forward-thinking and patient-centric solutions to help maximize success at every stage of the product life cycle.
AmerisourceBergen is one of the largest global pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services companies, helping both healthcare providers and pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers improve patient access to products and enhance patient care. With services ranging from drug distribution and niche premium logistics to reimbursement and pharmaceutical consulting services, AmerisourceBergen delivers innovative programs and solutions across the pharmaceutical supply channel in human and animal health. With over $120 billion in annual revenue, AmerisourceBergen is headquartered in Valley Forge, PA, and employs approximately 16,000 people. AmerisourceBergen is ranked #16 on the Fortune 500 list. For more information, go to www.amerisourcebergen.com.
January 12, 2015
Florida Cancer Specialists’ Clinical Trials Offer New Treatment Options
Published in Palm Beach Post – January 2015
A cancer diagnosis — be it you or a loved one — is a traumatic experience.
The experienced, compassionate physicians and support staff at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute know this — which is why it is the mission of each and every member of FCS to make your journey with the disease as tolerable as possible.
“Before Florida Cancer Specialists came to Palm Beach County, you’d have to travel to universities or research institutions to receive the kind of cutting-edge care that’s now available in our own back yard,” says Dr. Todd Gersten, a medical oncologist and hematologist with FCS. “Thanks to our partnership with the Nashville, Tenn.-based Sarah Cannon Research Institute, we can offer patients a vast array of clinical-trial opportunities that aren’t available elsewhere.”This is done in a multitude of ways — not the least of which is being able to offer research and clinical trial treatment protocols that are simply unavailable at other local facilities.
Among the forms of cancer that FCS has, or will, treat via the latest in research and clinical-trial medications:
- Unknown primary site
“The level, and sophistication, of the medications we can offer is unparalleled,” adds Dr. Gersten.
Indeed, over the years, countless FCS patients have benefited from — and, in many cases, had their lives saved — by being able to receive soon-to-be-FDA-approved medications before they were available to non-clinical-trial patients.
Other advantages of being an FCS patient
In addition to the more than 80 locations statewide — including four in Palm Beach County — FCS has some 180 physicians and 120 nurse practitioners available to treat its valued patients.
There’s nothing “institutional” about the FCS facilities, or the people who staff them.
Rather, FCS facilities are positive, upbeat, welcoming places of healing.
From the administrative and support staff to the nurses and doctors, every member of every FCS location is personally committed to positive patient outcomes.
What’s more, the remarkable integration of this statewide network enables FCS to offer services other oncology entities simply can’t.
- Pricing on: 1) chemotherapy drugs; 2) pain medications; 3) diagnostic imaging
- Oral oncolytic pharmacy
- On-site radiation facilities (not all locations)
- Pathology laboratories
- Opportunities to receive treatment regimens unavailable to the general public
This efficiency not only assists in patient recovery, but it also avails every patient to every service provided within the FCS network.
Listen, we get it: Nobody wants to be afflicted with cancer.
But, if either you or a loved one is, please trust us when we say you’ll want your treatment to take place at a Florida Cancer Specialists facility.
December 12, 2014
New cancer center coming
The treatment facility in Brandon is expected to be complete next fall.
Published in Tampa Bay Times – December 2014
BY CANDACE ROTOLO, Times Correspondent
Patients in Brandon who have been diagnosed with cancer will soon have a new location to seek treatment.
Florida Cancer Specialists broke ground Dec. 5 on a multimillion dollar comprehensive cancer center.
The Brandon Medical Pavilion will be at 623 Oakfield Drive, site of the nowclosed LifeStyle Family Fitness center. The existing structure has been demolished to make way for the 38,400-square-foot medical building, which will house doctors offices, exam rooms, a linear accelerator, PET/ CT and high-dynamic-range imaging equipment. Patients undergoing chemotherapy, infusion and radiation therapy also will utilize the cancer center.
The project cost is estimated at $11 million and should be completed in November. Florida Cancer Specialists will be the anchor tenant of the building and occupy the first floor. No other tenants have been announced.
'This facility will bring a wide range of treatments and services all under one roof, optimizing convenience for our patients in the Brandon community,' Florida Cancer continued from 1 Specialists CEO Bradley Prechtl said.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White, and a local pharmacist, said, 'This will lead to better access to health care for our residents and provide secure jobs for Brandon.' Florida Cancer Specialists expects to add 40 to 50 highly skilled jobs, although current employees will fill some of the jobs.
The facility adds to the center's burgeoning presence in Hillsborough County, including a major facility on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Raymond James Stadium.
The largest independent medical oncology/hematology practice in the United States, Florida Cancer is celebrating its 30th anniversary. With more than 170 physicians, 120 nurse-practitioners and physicians assistants and more than 80 locations in its network, it serves patients from Naples to Tampa Bay and as far north as far as Tallahassee, as well as Central Florida, and Vero Beach and Palm Beach County on the east coast.
Contact Candace Rotolo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 10, 2014
Florida Cancer Specialists expanding
Published in Naples Daily News – December 2014
Employers in Cape Coral-Fort Myers expect to hire at a vigorous pace in the first quarter of next year, according to a Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
Of all the survey participants, the metro area has the best employment outlook in the nation. Naples-Marco Island is not included in the survey
From January to March, 34 percent of companies interviewed in Cape Coral-Fort Myers plan to hire more employees, while 2 percent plan to trim their staff. Another 64 percent expect to keep their current workforce.
Staffing plans are stronger than they were for the fourth quarter of this year, and job prospects will be much better in the first quarter than they were a year ago.
For the coming year, job opportunities appear to be best in construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and other services.
The net employment outlook for Cape Coral-Fort Myers for the first quarter is 32 percent, which is the percent of employers planning to hire, minus the percent planning to make cuts.
In the U.S., 19 percent of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed plan to add employees, and 6 percent expect to cut staff in the first quarter. Nationwide, the employment outlook is 16 percent, seasonally adjusted.
Florida Cancer Specialists expanding
Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, the largest independent medical oncology/hematology practice in the U.S., recently announced a $2.5 million expansion of its corporate headquarters, at 4371 Veronica S. Shoemaker Blvd., in Fort Myers. A ground-breaking ceremony was attended by company leaders and community officials, including Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson.
Recognized as a leading oncology practice in Florida, the company will add 21,132 square feet in the two-story build out, due to be completed in 2015. Half of the new space will be used for administrative services; the other half will house an expanded Rx to Go program, the practice’s in-house specialty pharmacy for oral oncolytics.
“When we moved into the corporate headquarters in October 2006, this building seemed very large and spacious; now we are bursting at the seams with over 150 employees working here. Additionally, more space was needed to accommodate the growth of the Rx to Go program in recent years,” said Dr. William Harwin, the practice’s founder and president, in a statement.
Florida Cancer Specialists offers a full range of oncology and hematology services.
November 7, 2014
Saturday fundraiser set for 28-year-old woman battling pancreatic cancer
By Beth N. Gray, Times Correspondent
Florida Cancer Specialists oncologist Dr. Vikas Malhotra’s patient, 28-year-old Hannah Blair, is battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. On Saturday, November 8, the "Health for Hannah Fundraiser" will be held at Rookies Sports Bar & Grill in Spring Hill from 12-5 p.m. “Hannah is one of those unique individuals who is an inspiration to everyone around her,” said Vikas about his patient. "She is fighting a terminal disease with amazing courage and grace. Not only is Hannah a young wife and mom, but till recently she was still active in the National Guard despite multiple sessions of very grueling treatments. The community support for her has been amazing. Our hope and prayer is that the experimental treatment she is receiving with PRRT (Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy) will not only help her, but also advance the field to help others suffering with this terrible disease. Go Hannah!!”
Story courtesy of Tampa Bay Times, November 6, 2014
WEEKI WACHEE — When doctors first detected pancreatic cancer in Hannah Blair, then an active, working 28-year-old mother and Air National Guard enlistee, the dreaded disease already had advanced to critical Stage 4.
Under progressive treatment since that day in March 2013, Blair recently launched her latest sortie against the cancer, stepping up for a clinical experimental drug regimen at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center, an affiliate of Baylor University in Houston.
As she prepared to leave on Oct. 19 for the first two-week hospital procedure, she mentioned the Guard.
"They know I won't be there for the next drill." But she added with pride, "I did make the October drill."
The military figures in the lives of both Hannah and her husband, Kevin, 30. In 2012, he completed a six-year hitch in the Army, including a stint in Iraq. Hannah was enlisted in the Air National Guard in Indiana at the time and transferred her assignment to a Florida unit in Jacksonville when the couple moved later that year to Hernando County.
Over the months since her diagnosis, Blair had soldiered on. Although she had given up her job as a teller with Suncoast Credit Union in Crystal River, Kevin said, "She wanted to serve."
In a recent letter to the Times, a friend of the Blairs, Tiffany Roberts, wrote: "Hannah and her husband have both served our country. I think it's time we served them."
They need $55,000, the cost of the drug regimen, which is not covered by health insurance since the remedy is considered experimental in the United States.
Friends and other good-hearted residents hope veterans and others will join them from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday for a fundraising extravaganza at Rookies Sports Bar & Grill 19, 1320 Commercial Way in Spring Hill.
The oncology center normally requires advance payment for the peptide receptor radionuclide therapy Blair began receiving last week. But, due to the rapid advance of the cancer, Blair's less than satisfactory results with conventional treatments and the recommendation by doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Baylor officials agreed to admit Blair with partial payment up front.
Over the last couple of months, Roberts and friends have collected some $21,000.
"It sounds like a big number," Roberts said, "but at $55,000, it's really not."
The amount donated to date will cover two doses of the regimen.
To launch Saturday's fundraiser, Rookies 19 has pledged to donate 10 percent of its gross sales from Wednesday through Saturday to the Health for Hannah drive. More than a dozen vendors who will set up booths in the parking lot will donate up to 20 percent of their sales Saturday. Vendors will hawk handmade candles, jewelry, beauty products, fine art, haircuts and chair massages.
Hourly drawings for prizes will include golf and resort outings, artwork and other merchandise donated by more than 50 businesses. A 50/50 drawing also is set.
Children's attractions will include a bounce house, face painting, origami making and Italian ice.
Hannah's family, including parents and siblings from her native Fort Wayne, Ind., and Kevin's from Hernando County, will attend, along with 9-year-old son Daniel.
Having returned home this week from her first round of radioactive injections, Hannah is hoping to feel well enough Saturday to join Kevin in what could be the day's highlight, a couples dance that Kevin has choreographed.
Throughout her fight against the virulent strain of cancer, Hannah has experienced ups and downs, periods of feeling okay, but many more of pain, nausea and fatigue, her family says.
Hannah was first diagnosed at Oak Hill Hospital and quickly referred to Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, both in Spring Hill. Most recently, she's undergone treatment at the latter and at Moffitt.
Future radiation injections are expected to be scheduled every six to eight weeks. Although the therapy has not yet received FDA approval, it has been widely used in Europe, with a reported 95 percent success rate.
April 16, 2014
Gainesville Oncologist/Hematologist Dr. Lucio Gordan Named 2013
Frist Humanitarian Award Recipient
National Honor Recognizes Outstanding Individuals for their Humanitarian and Volunteer Activities
April 16, 2014……
Dr. Lucio Gordan, a medical oncologist/hematologist in the Florida Cancer Specialists (FCS) Gainesville office, was presented with the Physician Frist Award. The Frist Humanitarian Award is in honor of Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., a founder of Hospital Corporation of America. The awards that bear his name were created in 1971 to honor outstanding individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities and to recognize HCA employees and volunteers who perform their work in a spirit of love, with humility and understanding. Those who earn the awards at their respective HCA facilities are considered for the national First Humanitarian Award, the corporation’s highest honors.
“Our Frist Award recipients are an invaluable part of our healthcare family,” said Ward Boston, President & CEO. “They are living examples of patient-centered care and of going above and beyond for their community. They make our hospital and our community a better place.”
Dr. Lucio Gordan, 2013 Physician Frist Award Recipient
Dr. Lucio Gordan, a member of the medical staff at North Florida Regional Medical Center (NFRMC) for 17 years, is Co-Director of Medical Information Technology and Integrated Clinical Services, and serves as an Executive Board member of Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS). He was nominated for the 2013 Frist Humanitarian Award, which honors outstanding individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities. Since 2005, Dr. Gordan served as Medical Oncology Services Clinical Director at NFRMC; from 2010-2011 Dr. Gordan was Secretary Treasurer and Executive Officer IRB at NFRMC, where his commitment to service and to his patients in the community is outstanding. Dr. Gordan is also on the executive board of Florida Society of Clinical Oncology (FLASCO) and serves on the Information Technology Board for Community Oncology Alliance (COA). He is active in clinical research and has received numerous awards for his work, as well as being published in such prestigious journals as Oncologist, Leukemia & Lymphoma, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In addition to his professional achievements, Dr. Gordan provides sponsorship for the academic studies of approximately 30 children through Compassion International worldwide, and is a strong supporter of several charitable organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, Gainesville's Hippodrome Theater and the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation. Dr. Gordan also provides leadership for Run Amuck with a Duck, an annual event that raises funds for research into advanced-stage lung cancer through the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. Adored by his patients for his positive outlook, compassion and expertise, Dr. Gordan's unwavering commitment and tireless energy are inspirational for patients and staff alike.
February 8, 2014
Florida Cancer Specialists (FCS) Oncologists Left to Right: Michael Diaz, Vice President, Florida Association of Community Oncology (FLASCO), Ted Okon, Executive Director, Community Oncology Alliance (COA),
Dr. Victor Melgen Educates the Puerto Rican Oncology Community
Issues and Solutions Facing Models of Oncology Practices
February 8, 2014……
Dr. Victor Melgen.
Dr. Victor Melgen joined Dr. Michael Diaz in representing Florida Cancer Specialists (FCS) at the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology's (FLASCO) Puerto Rico Business of Oncology Summit, on February 8, 2014 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dr. Melgen's presentation "Issues and Solutions Facing Models of Oncology Practices in Florida and Puerto Rico", was part of a panel discussion for the 200 participants at the conference, which included physicians, practice administrators and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Melgen's presentation emphasized the practice model Florida Cancer Specialists has developed to manage the progressive challenges that community oncology practices face due to the evolution of health care reform. Dr. Diaz, who serves as FLASCO Vice President, pointed out how the Florida Cancer Specialists Model facilitates the economic viability of community oncology private practice, thus allowing cancer patients to receive more affordable, and accessible, quality oncology care that is closer to home.
January 16, 2014
FCS Annual Clinical Summit
As FCS begins its 30th year, there are many milestones to celebrate. The critical role of the community oncologist has never been more evident and our growth as a practice is a significant factor in our ability to bring world-class medicine to both large and small communities across Florida. The Annual Clinical Summit, held last fall in Orlando, provided a wonderful opportunity for physicians, their families and guests to personally connect with each other and reflect on the myriad of clinical advancements on the horizon for 2014. Click here to see the photo gallery.
December 17, 2013
Research Means Hope for Cancer Patients in Southwest Florida
Published in Life of Naples Magazine - December 2013
As the largest independent oncology/hematology practice in the United States, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) has always had a forward-thinking attitude towards clinical trial research. “Clinical trials are vital to our practice,” says FCS oncologist Dr. Rebecca Kosloff. “The reason cancer survival rates have dramatically increased over the past two decades can be traced directly to clinical trials. Florida Cancer Specialists’ association with multiple research organizations such as the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, one of the nation’s largest clinical research programs, gives our patients access to national and international clinical trials, which means we are able to offer patients more options.”
What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are research studies in which patients help doctors find ways to improve cancer care and assess new therapies and treatments for the disease. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer.
The cures for various types of cancer will all come from clinical research, yet many adult cancer patients don’t participate in clinical trials. Why? Many times it is because clinical trials are misunderstood and patients fear being “a guinea pig” or they are concerned they might be given a placebo or a drug that will prove to be ineffective. In clinical trials for a life-threatening disease like cancer, no one who participates in a clinical trial is ever treated like a guinea pig, and in clinical trials for cancer, a patient is never given anything less than the current best standard of treatment.
FCS oncologist Dr. Joel Grossman has seen many patients achieve positive results because they qualified for a clinical trial. “Obviously, it’s nice when someone does well, but it’s especially gratifying to see how beneficial it is for patients to enroll in clinical trials so that our treatments can improve over time. At Florida Cancer Specialists, we have an extensive clinical trial network, so new drugs and new combinations can be discovered that provide better outcomes and, hopefully, easier treatments for patients.”
Who can participate in a clinical trial?
All clinical trials have rules and guidelines about who can or cannot participate. These guidelines are necessary to ensure that researchers obtain the most scientifically accurate results and outcomes. If you are considering participating in a clinical trial, your doctor can provide substantial information about the trial and help determine whether or not you will qualify. It's your personal choice if you want to participate in a clinical trial for cancer. If you are unsure, you can talk to your doctor, family, and friends. Knowing as much as you can about the trial will help make your decision easier.
“We are the first community-based practice ever to guide the development of a new drug from start to finish,” says Dr. Mark Rubin, one of the leading researchers at FCS. “We designed an innovative clinical trial that was used nationally for the development of Erbitux and ultimately led to its approval. As a practice, we are not leaving research up to academic medical centers. We now have two drug development units that are aggressively pursuing new therapies and new ways of fighting cancer.”
“The types of doctors who work in this practice,” Rubin continues, “are able to fulfill their patients’ dreams because they are really focused on the individual patients, not just on their diseases. We never forget that the patients who sit across from us are no different from our own family members, so we have to figure out the best drugs that can be used in each individual case. Our practice is devoted to doing what is morally and ethically right… to find new ways of treating cancer in the future and not just settle for what has not worked all that well in the past.”
An integral part of the FCS continuum of care is the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation. The nonprofit organization provides non-medical living expenses (rent, mortgage, utilities, car payments, etc.) to qualified cancer patients by offering short-term, one-time financial support to individuals undergoing cancer treatment in the state of Florida. On Saturday, April 5, 2014, the Foundation will hold its inaugural and primary fundraiser, Rio Carnival – the Festive, Colorful, South American-themed FUNraiser at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples. For more information about the foundation and the event, visit https://foundation.flcancer.com/rio-carnival-funraiser
or call 855-585-5433.
You can also read the full article here: http://lifeinnaples.net/magazinewp/category/life-in-naples-magazine-archives/
August 20, 2013
Our World: Simple Gestures, Strong Bonds
By David Albers
Published in the Naples Daily News - August 17, 2013
There are no diplomas hanging in Dr. Andrew Lipman’s office. “I know where I went. You can look that up online,” he said. In place of the typical scholarly credentials, the 42-year-old oncologist has filled his office floor-to-ceiling with hats given to him by his cancer patients. Each hat is a personal message to the doctor.
“I know a lot of these patients from their hats,” Lipman said. After finishing his medical training in 2006,Lipman acquired a donated box of baseball caps of his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. The plan was to give them to patients losing their hair from chemotherapy or as a general pick-me-up. As he began giving out the hats during treatments, his patients began giving him hats in return. They wanted to give him a hat from their own team or a souvenir from a hard earned vacation they took during treatment. The collection grew, patient by patient, as they came and went under Lipman’s care.
Now, the hats fill every space on the walls of his personal office tucked away from treatment rooms at Florida Cancer Specialists.
“There is no magic in these hats. There is nothing divine that I can tell about it. It is just a small gesture among humans… A hat is who you are. This is my team. A hat is what’s important to you. A hat is where you’ve been in life. A hat is saying, ‘this is what’s important to me … this is what I’ve accomplished while I am going through treatment.’ … To know that many of these patients are not alive anymore, but many are and many are doing incredible things,” he said.
The hats are as diverse as his patients affected by cancer. One hat chronicles each state from “Dick and Suzie’s Big Adventure ’07.” Apparently, the Vatican sells ball caps. A sombrero reads, “Muchas Gracias por luchar por mi vida.” Translation: “Thanks for fighting for my life.” Tucked between the hats is yet another layer of mementos. Photos of weddings, sky diving and goats. There is a poem on a memorial card for “Buddy.” It starts, “Not how did he die, but how did he live?”
“Oncologists’ offices are not the most sought-after places to be. No one really wants to come here. It says cancer on the door. If you give of yourself and let yourself be emotionally available, patients are going to have a better experience and…. I am going to have a better experience because I am the one that signed up to do this job for the next 25 years,” Lipman said.
Lipman said oncologists have some of the highest rates of burnout among doctors. While a simple gesture on the surface, the collection has become a symbol of Lipman’s approach to medicine. “Be a human. Be truthful. Do the right thing for patients. And have fun doing it.”
July 24, 2013
FCS Leaders Discuss Strategies for Successful Community Oncology Practices
As published in the journal Oncology on July 15, 2013
In the current issue of the journal Oncology
, FCS physicians Dr. Scott Tetreault and Dr. Bill Harwin, who is also President of FCS, reveal many of the strategies the practice has used to become one of the most successful community oncology practices in the United States. From establishing an internal pharmacy for oral oncolytics to offering the broadest array of clinical trials and FDA-approved chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatment options to patients, Florida Cancer Specialists has set many benchmarks for community oncology throughout Florida. Click here to read the article.
July 16, 2013
Local cancer clinics offer oncology massage to aid recovery
As published in Bradenton Herald
Lynne Lambillotte is halfway through a two-year journey for treatment of the advanced cancer first discovered in her breast. The surgery and six months of chemotherapy are behind her. She is now in the middle of drug infusions every three weeks at Florida Cancer Specialists in Lakewood Ranch. Once that is finished, she will need two months of radiation.
Her body seems to be responding to the aggressive therapy -- PET scans show no signs of cancer -- but it has made her feel achy and tired. Then last spring she met oncology massage therapist Toni Muirhead. Florida Cancer Specialists, which has clinics throughout the state, had just started a pilot program for oncology massage at its Lakewood Ranch location.
Click here to read the entire article.
March 14, 2013
Florida Cancer Specialists Nurse Featured Contributor in ASCO's Clinical Practice Guideline
Diane Cope, ARNP at Florida Cancer Specialists in Ft. Myers is a featured contributor in the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Clinical Practice Guideline. The purpose of her research was to develop an evidence-based guideline on central venous catheter (CVC) care for patients with cancer that addresses catheter type, insertion site, and placement as well as prophylaxis and management of both catheter-related infection and thrombosis. Click here for a detailed synopsis.
March 12, 2013
Fight Sequester Cuts to Cancer Care
As we have informed you, “sequestration” has now been implemented in cutting government spending. Starting on April 1, 2013, CMS will cut Medicare payments to providers by 2%. This is for all claims submitted on or after April 1. A 2% cut to Medicare reimbursement for cancer drugs reduces ASP + 6% to ASP + 4.3% (the 2% cut is on the 80% billed to Medicare; not the patient 20% copay). In actuality, the real impact of a 2% cut is closer to 28%, given that the 6% above ASP, which is intended to cover services above the drug acquisition cost, is being cut to 4.3%.
If you want to stop a drop to ASP + 4.3%, which puts many drugs underwater (i.e., reimbursed at less than total acquisition and service cost), you need to engage your practice and community in a massive outreach to Congress. Members of Congress can help in two ways by:
-- Contacting the White House and CMS to not make destructive payment cuts to cancer drugs; and
-- Asking your Representatives to specifically cosponsor House bill H.R. 800, legislation that will fix the prompt pay problem that artificially reduces drug reimbursement.
This is very simple – unlike last minute patches to stop SGR payment cuts, sequestration is now the law. You have asked how to stop these destructive cuts to cancer drugs. COA is fighting hard in DC on this top priority issue, but this needs an outpouring of response from community oncology practices across the country. In response to requests from the cancer community, the COA Board of Directors -- made up of providers from community oncology practices -- has endorsed providing the following information for practices to engage the help of their members of Congress.
What to Do and How to Do It
There are two basic things you need to do.
Contact Senators and Representatives, Starting with Health Staff
Even if you can get to your Senators and Representatives directly, it is important to educate their health staff as well. Email and call the health staffer and discuss the problem and specifically what the “ask” is of the member. To help you, we have provided the following materials:
for talking points that will help you understand the issue and points, which can be sent to the staffer. Note that COA has worked with ASCO, AmerisourceBergen/ION, and McKesson/US Oncology in arriving at one common message.
As requested from the community, click here
for a list of names and contact information of Senate health staff and click here
for House health staff.
Don't have people make a million calls or send emails directly to the health staffer.
You want a few people to collectively discuss the problem, and what you are asking the Senator or Representative to do, with the staffer. Multiple calls from your community can be made to the general office number but with the health staffer establish a working relationship to gain their help.
Also, use every contact you have to get directly to your Senators and Representatives.
Launch Calls to Senate and House Offices
It is important that the offices of your members of Congress, both in DC and in your state, hear about this issue and hear often from their constituents in the local cancer community. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!
Practices have asked for a simple explanation of the issue for all – everyone in the practice and patients/caregivers/survivors – so we are providing that along with a template letter to patients.
In response to requests from practices, click here
to access the one-pager explaining the issue and the specific message to deliver. Note that on the second page you should fill in the names and both DC and local phone numbers of your 2 Senators in the state and all Representatives covering districts where you have patients. You can get this contact information very easily by going to COA’s legislative action center at http://capwiz.com/co/home/
and putting in the zip codes.
to download the patient template letter (in Word) that you need to customize.
Please contact Ted Okon
at Community Oncology Alliance with any questions, problems, or feedback.
February 22, 2013
Florida Cancer Specialists' Dr. Maen Hussein: CT scans for lung cancer may save lives
As published in The Villages Daily Sun
THE VILLAGES — The American Cancer Society is finally ready to embrace CT scans to save lives, although local cancer doctors said they started this screening push much earlier.
On Friday, the ACS recommended low-dose CT scans, but only for current and former heavy smokers ages 55 to 74 (and only after a frank talk about risks and benefits).
The ACS bases its recommendation on National Cancer Institute data indicating that CT scans reduce lung cancer deaths by 20 percent.
The NCI results were first published in November 2010. And while the ACS took 14 months to champion CT scans, local oncologists moved much more quickly.
“We started recommending CT scans last year after the study was published,” said local oncologist Dr. Maen Hussein, Central Florida Health Alliance. “It takes time to get things going, and it was one of the projects for the co-management committee, so we worked on it and now the program is on.”
“The co-management committee” is the Central Florida Health Alliance Oncology Co-Management Company, which has partnered with The Villages Regional Hospital’s Oncology Program and Lake Medical Imaging since April 2012 to offer $100 lung cancer screenings by CT scan.
Call 751-8585 to see if you qualify for a lung cancer screening.
Village of Santiago resident Nick Jones, who is president of The Villages Airheads, a COPD support group, has long been an advocate of CT scans.
“I can’t tell you how many CT scans I’ve had. They show things that X-rays don’t,” said Jones, who developed COPD after smoking for 42 years.
Unfortunately, many people don’t consider CT scans because the low-dose X-rays are usually an out-of-pocket expense. Hussein is hopeful that will change.
“I hope that Medicare and insurance companies will look into this study and approve the scan for that purpose since it saves lives in high-risk populations,” Hussein said. “I believe it is worth the money to get this scan done, since if it is abnormal, further testing is most of the time covered by insurance.”
In addition to the estimated 20 percent lung cancer death reduction, NCI’s National Lung Screening Trial, which studied 53,454 current and heavy smokers ages 55 to 74, also indicated that CT scans reduce death from any cause by 7 percent.
The NCI study included only older people who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or the equivalent, such as two packs a day for 15 years. Whether screening would help others isn’t known, so scans were not advised for them.
According to the ACS, 220,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. The disease annually kills more than 160,000 people in the United States.
The ACS formerly recommended screening with chest X-rays but withdrew that advice in 1980 after studies showed they weren’t saving lives.
Standard chest X-rays produce a single image of the whole chest in which anatomic structures overlie one another. CT scans obtain multiple-image scans of the entire chest.
Gary Corsair can be reached at email@example.com
or 753-1119, ext. 7907. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
February 6, 2013
Florida Cancer Specialists Nurse to be Honored in Washington DC
Diane Cope, ARNP at Florida Cancer Specialists in Ft. Myers, has been recognized with the 2013 Excellence in Care of the Older Adult with Cancer Award by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)
. Diane will be honored during the Opening Ceremonies of the Annual ONS Congress in Washington DC in April. The award is given in recognition and support of an oncology nurse who demonstrates age sensitive health interventions, quality care, and symptom management to older adult patients with cancer.
December 21, 2012
Florida Cancer Specialists’ Physician Named Chief of Staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Click here to read the press release
Dr. Rick Brown admires his jersey from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers commemorating his appointment as Chief of Staff for Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Left to Right: Jon Albert, Founder of Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation, Gwen MacKenzie, CEO at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Dr. Rick Brown, Shelly Glenn, FCS VP Marketing & Sales, Debra Betterly, FCS Foundation Manager
December 11, 2012
Teambuilding was never so much fun as it was at the recent FCS Operations Meeting. FCS staffers divided into teams to assemble bicycles, which were then donated to children of FCS patients. Aside from the many laughs (and a few frustrating moments), FCS employees learned that communication and trust are two important elements of great teamwork. Click here to learn more
December 5, 2012
Congratulations to FCS' NP Diane G. Cope, PhD, ARNP-BC, AOCNP. Diane authored Chapter 11 of book "Understanding and Managing Oncologic Emergencies - Second Edition
", which will be used nationwide by oncology nurses. Diane practices with Dr. Bill Harwin
in Ft. Myers.
November 30, 2012
Dr. Jose Alemar
was featured on three segments of the daytime program "Despierta Tampa" on Univision during November, which was National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Alemar discussed the CT Lung Screening Program recently instituted at the FCS office in Largo. Click here to view the segments
November 25, 2012
Dr. Bill Harwin
came in 7th overall out of 1700 riders and raised $38,266 for the Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami in the 2012 Miami Dolphins Cycling Challenge
. Dr. Harwin said, “It was a great ride – over 170 miles.” The fundraiser was a two-day cycling event, held annually in November. Click here to learn more
November 2, 2012
Sarasota Memorial doctors install new leaders
Sarasota Memorial’s medical staff recently installed its new leaders for 2012-2013, with hematologist/oncologist Richard H. Brown becoming Sarasota Memorial’s chief of staff. He succeeds outgoing chief of staff John Collins, whose term ended Nov. 1.
As the new chief of staff, Dr. Brown, who practices with Florida Cancer Specialists, will serve as the top representative of Sarasota Memorial’s more than 800 medical staff members. A member of SMH’s medical staff since 1991, Dr. Brown has served as director of Cancer Care Services since 1998. He has been an investigator in multiple clinical trials and published in several national publications. A previous SMH physician of the year award recipient, he also has won the Stephen H. Goldman, MD, Keystone Award from the Center for Building Hope (formerly The Wellness Community) for his commitment to the fight against cancer.
Dr. Brown received his medical degree from the University of Vermont and his master’s in business administration from Boston University. He completed his residency and internship at the University of Minnesota and his fellowship in oncology and hematology at New York University.
Click here to read the entire story.
October 29, 2012
For cancer patients, having a knowledgeable and caring oncology nurse can make a big difference. This video includes comments from FCS patients on the vital role these professionals play in ensuring the best treatment experience possible while fighting cancer. View Video.
October 20, 2012
The weekend of October 20th Founder and President Bill Harwin, MD biked at the 5th Annual Ride4Hope. In addition, hundreds of employees and physicians participated at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Throughout the state, Florida Cancer Specialists supported initiatives by raising money and awareness in the fight against cancer. Click here to learn more about the Annual Ride for Hope.
October 18, 2012
October 14, 2012
Florida Cancer Specialists' patient Debbie Morey served as an honorary captain at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Breast Cancer Awareness game on October 14, 2012. She was selected for her incredible fight against Breast Cancer. View video.
October 12, 2012
On NBC2’s “Health Matters” program, Dr. Bill Harwin, Founder and President of Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, explains the potential impact of weight for breast cancer recurrence.
Click here for the TV interview.
September 10, 2012
The Tampa Bay Business Journal
recently announced the finalists for the 2012 Health Care Heroes
and FCS’ own Tambra Randazzo is a finalist in the volunteer category. Tambra is an RTT (Radiation Therapy Technician) at the Brooksville office
. Tambra leads the Breast Cancer Support Group of Hernando County
and spends a great deal of time fundraising to provide mammogram vouchers for women who do not have insurance and cannot afford such life saving tests.
FCS is a presenting sponsor of the Health Care Heroes Awards
, where Tambra and the other finalists will be honored at a dinner on October 9. Congratulations Tambra! We are so proud of you!
Tambra with the Breast Cancer Support Group of Hernando County
July 27, 2012
Head Nurse Mary Brown Retires After 24 Years
“I’m crying everyday now because this is like my second family.”
In the past 24 years, Mary Brown, head nurse at the Cape Coral – Del Prado location, has seen a lot of changes – not only in the treatment of cancer patients, but also within Florida Cancer Specialists. When Mary first joined the practice in 1988, there were only two locations and three doctors, a far cry from the 60 locations, 122 physicians, and 1500 employees we have today! In those early days at the office where Mary has worked for nearly a quarter of a century, there were only three chemo chairs and Mary handled almost everything for the patients by herself. “I would take their blood, run the labs, get the doctor, and do the chemo. There was never a dull moment, that’s for sure!”
Prior to joining FCS, Mary had been a pediatric oncology nurse in Ohio; however, when she moved to Florida there was no children’s cancer center in the area, so she started working with adults. “I was a little worried about working with adults, but I soon realized that they were just like the little kids. They were older and taller – but still just as stubborn!”
Mary agrees that it takes a special type of person to care for cancer patients. “The people who work here have heart – and that’s not something you can teach, it’s something you just have. The work and treatment that we do now at FCS means so much to the patients. They don’t have to go to the hospital anywhere near as much as they did 20 years ago, and they can get the treatment right here in the office with their family and friends close by.”
Mary says that the one thing she won’t
miss is the 10 hour work days that she often had on her schedule. “This is my extended family and I’ve loved working here with all my doctors, staff and patients. I’ve been privileged to have a career that I love.”
FCS will miss you Mary!
June 22, 2012
FCS Cancer Research Program Featured in Medical News, Inc.
Dr. Ralph Gousse becomes the first oncologist/hematologist located in the Apopka community, bringing world-class care to a local community.
Click Here to Read the Article
FCS is setting the benchmark for clincal trials research in a community-based oncology setting. With two drug development units (one in Ft. Myers and one in Sarasota) and a dedicated research team, Florida Cancer Specialists is a national leader in finding new, innovative treatments for cancer. The June issue of Medical News, Inc. spotlighted FCS and its outstanding research team in a statewide edition of the publication. Click here to read the full article
June 20, 2012
Naples Daily News reports how FCS' own Dr. Joel Grossman won the Best Overall Male Mustache prize at the first-ever Mustache Bash, a "fund razor" for the Cancer Alliance of Naples (CAN). The event raised $5,600 which will go towards providing financial aid to cancer patients through CAN. Click here to read the entire article.
May 1, 2012
FCS' own Dr. Lowell Hart won the Dancing with the Docs 2012 Contest! Click Here to see the YouTube video
February 13, 2012
Congratulations to Diane Cope, PhD., ARNP-BC, AOCNP, on the publication of her book Caring for the Older Adult with Cancer in the Ambulatory Setting
. Published in January, 2012 by the Oncology Nursing Society, the book was inspired by ONS’s recognition of the projected increase in the aging population and the need for specialization of geriatric oncology nursing in the future. An ONS Gero-Oncology Think Tank Task Force met in December 2008, with the overall goal to create an organization-wide dedication to the special needs of older adults with cancer; this text is the result of that effort.
Diane works with Dr. William Harwin, President of FCS, in the Ft. Myers Summerlin office. For more information, please click here
October 3, 2011
On Monday, October 3, 2011 Florida Cancer Specialists' patients and their children were honored at the Tampa Bay Buccanneers Breast Cancer Awareness game.
The game was preceded by an FCS tailgate where patients, physicians, and staff members gathered and enjoyed great barbecue and other refreshments. 24 children of FCS Breast Cancer Survivors carried flags onto the field at the start of the game. The game was televised nationally on Monday Night Football and kicked off the NFL month-long salute to Breast Cancer Awareness. For photos from the event please visit our photo gallery here. For photos from the event click here.
September 19, 2011
The Bradenton Herald reports how oncologist Dr. Robert Whorf was drawn to the people side of medicine. Click Here
to read the entire article.
September 7, 2011
Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute held groundbreaking ceremonies today on the site of the new Tampa Cancer Center, located at 3402 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The $10 million facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012. Brad Prechtl, CEO of FCS, said, “The Tampa Cancer Center, coupled with the growth of our practice in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, is indicative of our commitment to set a new standard in cancer treatment and to demonstrate the true power of what community oncology can be.”
This new facility will increase our ability to offer unique, state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary oncology treatments that deliver new and personalized cancer therapies, providing renewed hope to an even greater number of cancer patients. Click here
to read the full press release.
August 9, 2011
Florida Cancer Specialists, Optimal Outcomes partner on center
After rapid growth through acquisitions, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute plans to consolidate some of its Tampa offices.
The practice will combine three offices into a single site, a $9.5 million cancer treatment facility that’s being built by real estate developer Optimal Outcomes LLC at 3402 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., next to One Buc Place. Florida Cancer Specialists will be the sole tenant and have an option to purchase the building when it’s completed in the fall of 2012.
It’s among a growing number of new or expanded health care facilities in the Bay area with a total construction cost topping $800 million, according to a Tampa Bay Business Journal survey last spring.
Health care construction is a bright spot for developers, said Patrick Marston, principal and founder of Optimal Outcomes.
“It’s been the most recession-proof industry right now, not that it hasn’t been hit, but not at the same impact. It’s a little more resilient,” Marston said.
Continuity of care
Many of the projects are focused on treating cancer, the second leading cause of death in the United States, surpassed only by heart disease. In Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, the prevalence of cancer is at or above the national average, statistics from the National Cancer Institute show.
The National Institutes of Health has estimated the direct cost for medical care for cancer-related treatment in the United States in 2010 was $102.8 billion. With a 68 percent five-year survival rate for all cancers from 1999-2005, oncology remains a significant unmet need, according to the American Cancer Society .
Florida Cancer Specialists’ new treatment center will provide continuity of care, offering all the services oncology patients need in a single location, said Tim Boozan, vice president of informatics and marketing.
Florida Cancer Specialists, headquartered in Fort Myers and with 42 locations along the west coast of Florida, has grown largely in Tampa through acquisitions, said Glenn Noble, chief financial officer. Three Tampa locations within about a mile of each other — at 4910 N. Armenia Ave., 4301 N. Habana Ave., and 4612 N. Habana Ave. — will be merged into the new two-story, 36,000-square-foot facility.
The new facility will have 13 medical oncologists and a radiation oncologist, once everyone is fully integrated. “We’ll be able to do better scheduling and utilize staff more efficiently,” Noble said.
Investing in technology
The project will include construction of a vault to house a linear accelerator used in radiation therapy. The linear accelerator will be used to provide sophisticated treatments such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy and image guided radiation therapy, attacking cancer cells through precisely targeted high-powered beams of radiation.
“There’s a lot of challenges for hospitals and clinics, whether to invest in new technology in the face of cutbacks in reimbursements,” said Dr. Robert Miller, one of three radiation therapists who opened WellSpring Oncology in Pinellas Park in 2008. “Our philosophy is to continue to try to offer multiple different technologies.”
WellSpring was the first in the state with TomoTherapy, using a CT scanner to provide a 3D image and IMRT and IGTR techniques to hit the exact spot. In May, it added TomoDirect, expanding treatment to a larger patient population.
WellSpring also collaborates with Cyberknife Centers of Tampa Bay, a provider of stereotactic radiosurgery, which is a non-invasive treatment that uses very accurately targeted and large doses of radiation to kill cancer cells. Dr. Frank Franzes, a co-founder of WellSpring, is medical director at Cyberknife Centers of Tampa Bay.
The technology investments have paid off in increased patient volume for WellSpring, said Lan Pratt, executive director. The practice treats about 70 patients on average on a daily basis, many of whom self-refer after hearing advertisements about the technology or reading about it on the Internet.
by Margie Manning, Tampa Bay Business Journal
August 16, 2011
For the fourth consecutive year, FCS President Dr. William Harwin participated in the Pan Mass Challenge, a bike riding event in Massachusetts that raises money for breast cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Backed by over 250 donors and personal supporters, Dr. Harwin rode a total of almost 200 miles in the two-day event and personally raised over $48,000 for breast cancer research. Dr. Harwin stated that he was very impressed by the dedication of those who participated in the event.
According to Dr. Harwin, "At the Friday night opening ceremonies there was electricity in the air as Lance Armstrong spoke well energizing several thousand people in the room. It is remarkable to see the support of thousands of people who cheer you on at various point all along the route. I didn't see Lance ride the first day as he was at the front but both Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown participated. I am attaching a couple of pictures and including one of Eric Winer, the head of breast cancer at Dana Farber, and myself as we are both part of Team Wow."
In all, over 30 million dollars was raised, making this the single largest fundraiser of its kind in the United States. Now, we all understand why Dr. Harwin was a part of Team Wow!
July 12, 2011
Read about Florida Cancer Specialists clinical trials program and current patient: Carmen Ortega. Click Here
to read the entire article.
July 7, 2011
Read Florida Cancer Specialists Dr. George's mention in the Sarasota Herald Tribune: Click Here
to read the entire article.
June 30, 2011
New England Journal of Medicine Publishes FCS Clinical Trial Findings
FCS physician Dr. Luis Chu is one of the authors of a paper appearing last month in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, the oldest continuously published medical journal in the world. Dr. Chu, along with the other researchers, reported on findings of a clinical trial for the prostate cancer drug abiraterone acetate in the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). In a clinical trial of 1195 patients, the drug was shown to prolong survival rates for mCRPC patients when used in combination with prednisone. It received approval from the FDA in April of this year, and is now available via prescription through the FCS RxToGo program.
Dr. Chu sees patients at the downtown Sarasota office, and is one of the many FCS physicians participating in clinical trial research and improving the outcomes for cancer patients everywhere. Click Here
to read the entire article.
June 4, 2011
Florida Cancer Specialists is a proud recipient of ASCO's 2011 Clinical Trials Participation Award, awarded to practices that have established high-quality clinical cancer research programs.
Click Here to View Highlights
of some of the most important scientific and educational presentations from Saturday June 4th, at the 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting.
March 29, 2011
FCS is pleased to announce the hiring of our second hematopathologist, Dr. Mojdeh Naghashpour. Dr. Naghashpour has outstanding credentials and is currently working for Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Her first day of employment will be on July 5, 2011.
This is another example of FCS expanding the services we offer to our patients and would only have been possible as a result of our growth over the past few years.
February 10, 2011
é Bella magazine features a revealing article about Florida Cancer Specialists Dr. Susan Morgan.
Click Here to Read 'Prescription for Success'
You can use Adobe Reader to open the article from é Bella.
If you don't have it, you can download it here:
The new Lakewood Ranch Cancer Center brings a team approach to fighting cancer by combining treatment talent under one roof.
to read the full article on Bradenton.com