News & Events

Backus Oncology Radiation Services Transitions to HHC Cancer Institute

June 20, 2014

Backus Hospital’s Cancer Program took another big step in the creation of a comprehensive, coordinated system of care for cancer patients this week with the official transition of oncology radiation services to the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute.

“We’ve made this transition because we have the opportunity within the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute to build a single standard of care across all five hospital campuses. We are able to be more efficient in the delivery of care because we won’t be running five independent programs,” said Jim O’Dea, PhD, MBA, Hartford HealthCare East Region Director of Cancer Services.

The Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute is comprised of HHC affiliates Backus, Windham, and Hartford, hospitals, the Hospital of Central Connecticut and Mid-State Medical Center.

For more than 15 years, Backus radiation therapy was a partnership with Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Yale School of Medicine, and Backus Hospital.  Under the transition, three radiation oncologists have joined the team, and the current technical staff—radiation therapists, dosimetrists, and physicists—will remain virtually unchanged as they continue to serve patients in the Dr. Sultan Ahamed Radiation Therapy Center on the hospital campus.

“I’m very proud of the relationship that Backus had with Yale.  They helped us build the foundation of what our cancer program is today,” said O’Dea. “But there are remarkable opportunities within the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute that we would not be able to have as just a stand-alone facility.”

One of the opportunities, O’Dea says, was created when the Institute became the charter member of the Memorial Sloan Cancer Alliance last September.  The alliance will provide patients with access to leading-edge treatments, clinical research and highly-specialized clinical trials previously unavailable to our community.

O’Dea says a key to making this a seamless transition  for radiation patients is ensuring they see the same faces each time they come for treatment.

“While treatment may only last 25-minutes each time, the patient sees the technical staff every day for six or eight weeks. They develop a special bond,” O’Dea said.  “That’s not going to change. They’ll still see many of the same faces.”