Huntsman Cancer Institute expands care to patients in rural Utah

Photo Courtesy: U of U

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 15, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A $4.5 million gift from the Huntsman family will fund an expansion of a program at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah that brings specialty cancer care directly to patients in their homes.

HCI’s Huntsman at Home will expand to rural Utah, including Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties, said a news release from the University of Utah.

“The goal is to provide cancer care for patients who live far from HCI in Salt Lake City by partnering with patients and their caregivers, communities, and medical teams to deliver many aspects of cancer care in a patient’s own home as an alternative to hospital visits at a medical center or emergency department,” the news release said.

Huntsman at Home launched in 2018 and is currently exclusive to patients living within a 20-mile radius of HCI’s hospital on the campus of the U of U, the news release said. Huntsman at Home services range from symptom management to acute medical, post-surgical, and end-of-life care. The Huntsman at Home team includes HCI nurse practitioners and oncologists. It is operated in partnership with Community Nursing Services, a home health and hospice agency. Working with CNS staff, the team provides registered nurses, nursing aids, social workers, and physical therapists. All aspects of care are done in consultation with the patient’s medical oncologist at HCI.

“Cancer patients and their family caregivers are often thrust into a challenging environment of managing complicated treatments, symptoms, and more,” said John Ward, MD, HCI physician-in-chief and professor of internal medicine at the U of U. “We are grateful for the opportunity to determine how we can better serve our rural communities by bringing the Huntsman touch to patients in their own homes.”

The expansion is possible thanks to a gift from the Huntsman family via the Huntsman Foundation. “Our family foundation has decided to add this support in addition to our previous commitments,” said CEO of Huntsman Foundation and Chairman and CEO of Huntsman Cancer Foundation Peter R. Huntsman.

“This is a program designed to combine home care with the latest care and research from Huntsman Cancer Institute. In treating certain cases of cancer, this should allow care to be more personalized to the needs of the patient.”

Kathleen Mooney, HCI cancer population scientist and distinguished professor of nursing at the U of U, added: “This type of sophisticated cancer home care is not fully covered by insurance plans. We are hopeful this expansion to rural patient homes, as well as the early promising results of the Salt Lake City Huntsman at Home project, will provide compelling evidence for the need for insurance plans to cover this type of care for cancer patients.”

Carbon, Emery, and Grand counties were selected for the Huntsman at Home expansion project following input from HCI and CNS clinicians, evaluation of Utah’s cancer burden, and conversations with community organizations and elected officials in these areas. Huntsman at Home is expected to be implemented in the three counties by the end of 2020. The addition of these counties will add 9,500 square miles to the service area of Huntsman at Home.

Map Courtesy: University of Utah

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