Teresa Coleman of Brookhaven, a kidney cancer patient, talks to her nurse Michele Harrison, left, and Dr. Clark Henegan, her medical oncologist, at a recent visit to a UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute clinic.
Teresa Coleman of Brookhaven, center, a kidney cancer patient, talks to her nurse, Michele Harrison, and her medical oncologist, Dr. Clark Henegan, during a recent visit.
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U.S. News lists UMMC's cancer program among tops in nation

Published on Monday, August 5, 2019

By: Cynthia Wall

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s cancer programs have gained a “High Performing in Adult Cancer” rating from U.S. News and World Report in its most recent “Best Hospitals” analysis.

That rating puts the UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute’s patient programs among the top 10 percent of cancer centers in the nation.

Portrait of Dr. John Ruckdeschel

“This recognition reflects ongoing efforts of our faculty and staff to offer top-notch cancer care and to continually improve procedures and technology for Mississippians,” said Dr. John Ruckdeschel, UMMC CCRI director and Ergon Chair for Cancer Research.

High-level cancer care requires coordination from a team of specialists, nurses and medical caregivers, so the U.S. News recognition reflects the efforts of every department and most divisions at UMMC, Ruckdeschel said.

“I’m thrilled that the work and passion our staff bring to helping cancer patients and their families is being recognized in this fashion,” he said.

U.S. News analyzed 16 specialties - including cancer - and nine hospital procedures and conditions. The ratings for a dozen specialties - including cancer - were based on available data from government and professional organizations, while ratings for four specialties were determined from surveys of national specialists in their respective fields. U.S. News reviewed 885 hospitals that offer cancer care.

Dr. Mark Earl and surgery resident Dr. Taylor Shaw work together on a robotic procedure to remove a patient's pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Mark Earl and Dr. Taylor Shaw, surgery resident, employ a robotic procedure to remove a patient's pancreatic cancer.

The ratings used to evaluate UMMC programs was limited to publicly available data.

For this year’s ratings, U.S. News added patient-centered measures, such as patient satisfaction and how often patients are discharged to their homes instead of to other facilities, and implemented a risk adjustment to reflect the level of complexity needed to treat sicker patients.

The CCRI received excellent ratings in 30-day survival, discharging patients and offering advanced technologies.

“Our primary goal is to provide the best care possible for our patients and their families,” said Dr. Stephanie Elkins, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology. “Any recognition beyond that helps validate that commitment to our patients’ care.”

U.S. News also analyzed nine other procedures and conditions and rated UMMC as “High Performing in Heart Failure.” UMMC’s advanced Heart Failure/Transplant Cardiology Program offers the only heart transplant program and only implantable left ventricular assist device program in the state, said Dr. Robert Long, associate professor of cardiology. The program is involved in clinical trials to help identify future therapies of heart failure care and has an educational program for heart failure trainees.

“Improving their outcomes is important to UMMC’s patients and family caregivers, as well as society overall from a clinical, quality-of-life and cost-of-care perspective,” said Dr. Javed Butler, chair of the Department of Medicine.