Hospitals of Community Healthcare System earn Lung Cancer Center of Excellence designation

Hospitals of Community Healthcare System earn Lung Cancer Center of Excellence designation

Join more than 50 hospitals in the U.S. for delivering best practices and patient-centered multidisciplinary care

Community Healthcare System hospitals have received designation as a Care Continuum Center of Excellence for Lung Cancer by theGO2 Foundation. The GO2 Foundation formed the Care Continuum Centers of Excellence (CCCOE) program to help provide patient access to standard of care lung cancer screening, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship in their local community.

The designation for Community Hospital, Munster, St. Catherine Hospital, East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart, recognizes the hospitals’ commitment to improving outcomes for those diagnosed with lung cancer by delivering patient-focused and coordinated care from a multidisciplinary healthcare team. Before Community Healthcare System attained this distinction, there were only 40 hospitals with CCCOE’s quality recognition. The healthcare system hospitals are first in Northwest Indiana and the state of Illinois to achieve the Cancer Center of Excellence distinction, according to GO2 Foundation officials.

“We are proud and honored to be working with Community Healthcare System as a GO2 Foundation Care Continuum Center of Excellence,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, co-founder, president and CEO of GO2 Foundation. “Their commitment will help save lives and improve long-term survivorship by giving patients access to high-quality, multidisciplinary care closer to home. They are the example to follow.”

The CCCOE program recognizes community hospitals that meet rigorous qualifying criteria and demonstrates collaborative leadership across the lung cancer care continuum to ensure the highest quality of care with a patient-centered approach. Meeting the CCCOE criteria puts member hospitals on par with leading academic and research institutions and provides patients with access to the latest innovations not typically found in community hospitals.

“The hospitals of Community Healthcare System continue to raise the quality of healthcare and patient safety in Northwest Indiana,” said Donald P. Fesko, president and chief executive officer, Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, Inc., parent company to the hospitals. “This designation as a care center of excellence is a validation of our efforts to adopt the best practices in medicine which measures up to the top hospitals in the country.”

The multidisciplinary care model includes: early screening and nodule follow-up programs, tumor genetic testing to set up appropriate treatment plans, access to clinical trials, minimally invasive biopsy, surgical and radiation therapy techniques, access to new targeted therapies and immunotherapies, physical therapy and extensive patient education and support through lung cancer care navigators. The CCCOE approach results in patients receiving compassionate and timely care, as well as treatment options and support groups that improve survivorship.

“Our network of hospitals and our multidisciplinary cancer care team is dedicated to providing patients with the highest quality care,” said Marie Duval Macke, service line administrator for oncology. “We are proud of our team, early lung cancer detection programs, treatment and patient care protocols and the impact we are having on our local community.”

Community Healthcare System is using some of the latest computer-aided technology in lung cancer detection. The next-generation lung Computer-Aided Digital (CAD) technology was installed at Community Hospital in April. This technology improves the detection of cancer in lung nodules through the use of multi-slice computer tomography (MSCT) which provides 2D, 3D and 4D images.

Radiologist Jonathon Lee, MD, said that the hospitals of Community Healthcare System are unparalleled in detecting lung cancer in the early stages and in providing a unified treatment plan using advanced technologies. All hospitals in the system, including Community Stroke & Rehabilitation Center in Crown Point, are deemed by theGO2 Foundation as Centers of Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening.

“This CAD technology is a form of artificial intelligence in radiology,” Lee explained. “It helps our radiologists detect 20 to 30 percent more lung nodules that may have been overlooked by the human eye. It will also help us track smaller nodules in the lungs to see if they enlarge over time.”

Hospitals must be Commission on Cancer Accredited and be delivering academic-like care in the community setting, said Kim Partham, associate director of quality care and clinical relations for GO2 Foundation. Early detection technology, lung cancer treatment involving minimally-invasive procedures and a lung cancer navigator who guides a patient through their continuum of care is required to be considered for this designation.

For more information about lung cancer care at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit