Partnership creates The Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Regional Cancer Network

Published 10:38 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Administration for Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, Cancer Center of Southeast Texas and Altus Cancer Center will announced that on April 3, 2017, the consolidation of specialized radiation therapy, hematology and medical oncology services to expand and enhance regional cancer care in Southeast Texas. Three distinguished cancer centers in Southeast Texas have now joined efforts to improve lives of those they jointly serve.

“Three organizations with the same patient-first culture are now one with multiple locations for members of our community fighting cancer,” Ernest Hymel, MD, PhD. said. “Patients throughout the region will have greater access to specialized cancer physicians and the availability of clinical trials.  This is an unprecedented opportunity for those fighting cancer in our community.”

Hymel has been in the area for 12 years and works in radiology oncology.

“This is a brand new venture creating a brand new entity,” Hymel said. “Our driving force for the entity is to improve cancer care in South East Texas, including Orange County.”

With the combination of resources, a new level of care can be provided according to Hymel.

“This combined effort between three well-known facilities strengthens the future of cancer care for our community,” David Parmer, CEO, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, said.  “All three organizations will work together to develop the best evidence-based patient care models while providing cancer services at home from physicians they know and trust.”

“The community, physicians and health systems of Southeast Texas will see a great improvement to the access of high-quality cancer care, no longer requiring patients to feel the need to travel to Houston,” Kevin Herrington, Executive Vice President Altus Health said.

Discussion for the collaboration began three years ago, according to Herrington.

“Ten years ago Altus Health did not have a cancer program,” Herrington said. “Six years ago, one was started in Baytown. Three years ago, we started talking about how to work together for more collaboration instead of competing.”

With higher cancer rates from Houston to New Orleans, providing the best cancer care possible is important, according to Herrington.

“There is a lot of out migration for care,” Herrington said. “People will go to Houston for care, and there is no need, Our goal is what is best for the patient.”

This team of board-certified cancer specialists with more than 100 years of combined experience, including many years at MD Anderson Cancer Center, will combine compassion and commitment, strengthening their reputations as leaders in cancer care. For continued access to cancer care, all three locations will remain operational. This partnership, combined with the recent Comprehensive accreditation through the Commission on Cancer for the Baptist Cancer Center demonstrates the commitment to providing safe, efficient, and high-quality cancer services in a loving environment to members of the community.