RRH partners with Davis for oncology services

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

RRH partners  with Davis for  oncology servicesA search for ways to bring oncology services closer to patients living in the Indian Wells Valley and beyond led Ridgecrest Regional Hospital into a partnership with the University of California, Davis — a partnership made official during a Tuesday press conference.

“We are delighted that UC Davis has accepted us into its cancer care network,” said RRH CEO Jim Suver.

In a recent needs-assessment study, cancer treatment and services were identified as one of the most significant gaps in local health care services. Historically, the small, remote population of the IWV has had difficulty finding quality solutions with its limited resources.

Suver’s search brought him to Davis — which over the last 20 years has developed a specialty in bringing care to rural communities where such care is suboptimal or nonexistent.

“Why should people in Ridgecrest have to travel the distances they do to receive quality care?” said Dr. Scott Christensen, medical director of the Davis Cancer Care Network. Bringing the organization’s research, innovation and resources to RRH “will only add benefit not just to your community, but regionally.”

“Our vision for Ridgecrest Regional Hospital over the next five years is to continue to become an integrated delivery system with a superior acute-care facility, pre- and post-acute-care facilities and services and multi-specialty medical clinics affiliated with the hospital,” said Suver.

Inclusion in Davis’ network also give local patients access to more than 250 clinical trials and a multidisciplinary tumor board.

Longterm goals include a cancer center with radiation oncology services.

Christensen noted that development of the local center will take time and planning — and community input. “So expect to hear some updates.”

He added that he was happy to see the level of commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by professionals at RRH.

“Oncology is a team-science endeavor. In order to do it well, it takes great oncologists, great nurses, great administrators, great support services, great pathology — the list goes on” said Christensen.

“That’s part of why we’re so excited about this relationship. It takes that focus and that desire to do it well. In our initial discussions with the team at RRH, we were incredibly impressed with that.

“That speaks to Jim’s leadership and vision, and to the board’s as well. This is going to be phenomenal for Ridgecrest and the region.”

“Keeping top-notch cancer treatment in Ridgecrest, without driving out of town, is our ultimate goal,” said Suver.

“It is an honor to be affiliated with the UC Davis Cancer Care Network.

“We believe the affiliation will enhance our capabilities while lending advanced knowledge and skill to cancer diagnostics and follow-up for the residents of our community.”

Increased access to oncology series comes on the heels of other recent announcements to expand emergency services and open a mental health crisis stabilization clinic at RRH.

Suver said the hospital will continue to reach out to the community to indentify needs as well as ways to collaborate.

Pictured: RRH?CEO?Jim Suver (third from right) shakes hands with Dr. Scott Christensen, who visited this week along with Davis Cancer Care Network representatives (from left) Kay Harse, June Brown and Hadley Sauers-Ford. Also pictured are RRH?Board Chair Dana Lyons and Mayor Peggy Breeden. -- Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2017-01-27