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Shawnee Mission Health Achieves MD Anderson Certification

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It’s already great, but it’s becoming even greater. Shawnee Mission Cancer Center, Merriam, Kansas, and MD Anderson Cancer Network™, Houston, Texas, have banded together for a landmark affiliation. Shawnee Mission Cancer Center is now a certified member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network, the top-ranked cancer center in the United States. With that achievement, Shawnee Mission Health offers a wealth of experience and knowledge in fighting cancer to the KC-metro area.

Our goal is to be in a position to bring the Kansas City community the best options of care. This certification immediately raises the bar and brings a higher standard, offering the same resources that MD Anderson has in Houston,” noted Becca Bell, administrative director of oncology services at Shawnee Mission Health. “Our goal is to provide cancer care here because we have the same physician expertise as Houston. However, if patients must go to Houston for more extensive treatment, we can offer them pathways to streamline that process to see an MD Anderson specialist. We’ll coordinate the care locally and many times with one trip to Houston.”

Rigorous Standards
Achieving this certification was no easy task. The process began over a year ago with intense quality reviews and gap analysis to find weaknesses for improvement and strengths to enhance. Numerous on-site visits by MD Anderson representatives, reviews of standards of care procedures and a constant stream of conference calls guided Shawnee Mission Health on its path to certification. Piece by piece, Shawnee Mission Health rigorously constructed a strategic action plan, allowing it to move to the high standards of MD Anderson.

“When we officially learned that we achieved certification, there was a lot of celebration by the staff. As a team, we have an incredible amount of pride in our work and there’s good reason for that. This certification involved much hard work by many people to reach this level and achieve this goal, which gives our team validation that we were headed in the right direction anyway,” enthused Becca. “To have the top ranked cancer center give you that approval and certification is a little surreal. It’s amazing, and yet it’s humbling in a way. I’m very proud that we’re able to offer this incredible level of care, creating an environment where people want to come to be treated, knowing the quality we’re delivering, coupled with the MD Anderson approach, the holistic method we employ and the other therapies we offer.”

Enhanced Care
As the KC-metro’s sole MD Anderson Cancer Network affiliate and one of only 16 in the nation, Shawnee Mission Health has raised the standard of cancer care in our community with patient-focused cancer care that follows MD Anderson’s renowned treatment guidelines and multidisciplinary approach.

“This is not about buying a brand; this is a quality program. The certification ensures that we are delivering the same care locally that you would receive in Houston. There’s a diligent and rigorous process to achieve this goal, and it’s a continuous improvement process,” remarked Becca. “Our commitment to the community is that when a patient comes to Shawnee Mission they will have a positive experience, with holistic care that’s delivered in a caring environment. Treatment is only one part of the patient care experience.”

Many cancer specialists at Shawnee Mission Cancer Center are certified by the MD Anderson Physician Network™. This provides physicians access to a wide range of care developed by MD Anderson experts across many specialties of oncology care, treatment plans and best practices. Becca compares it to doctors now having a “Bat Phone,” offering immediate connection with MD Anderson specialists.

Focus on the Patient
Achieving this high level of certification falls right in line with the overall healthcare vision at Shawnee Mission Health, the parent organization for the Shawnee Mission Cancer Center, which is focused on treating the whole person—body, mind and spirit. Outstanding care is given in an engaging environment, ensuring that patient input and emotional, physical and clinical priorities are included. In addition, the certification validates the level of exceptional quality that Shawnee Mission Health always delivers, which equates to exceptional outcomes and excellent care.

“All of our programs at Shawnee Mission Health work very hard to be the best. The wonderful thing for this certification is that when you’re on a quest, everyone is on board. The quality of our care is so high and everyone wants to be successful. Yet, we’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘How can we be more proactive and how we can better meet the needs of the patient?’” noted Becca. “It is phenomenal for the Kansas City community to have this option available locally. We believe in this product of delivering outstanding cancer care. When the patient is deliberating treatment options, Shawnee Mission Cancer Center will be the best choice for them.” ■

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