$10M Donation Set to Boost Patient Access to Supportive Cancer Care

One of the largest cancer research centers, City of Hope, has received a $10 million donation from The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation to expand patient access to supportive cancer care and make it a standard practice throughout the United States.

“Our shared belief at The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation and at City of Hope is that supportive care should be an essential part of cancer care for every patient and family,” said Sheri Biller, president of The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation.

“Our aim is to leverage the power of our partnership with City of Hope to propel and advance supportive care medicine in oncology for all cancer patients,” Biller added. “With scalable care models and training, this gift will amplify over time, expanding access to the best supportive care programs to cancer patients who have otherwise often faced racial, gender, age, economic and geographical barriers.”

The cancer center supports its patients by providing comprehensive physical, psychological, social, and practical services for better health outcomes. Some of the supportive care services include care navigation, survivorship programs, specialists in cancer and aging, psychological and spiritual counseling, pain management, and integrative medicine, City of Hope stated.

“Cancer diagnoses and treatments bring tremendous stress to families, with challenges that are uniquely personal,” said Robert Stone, president and chief executive officer at City of Hope. “Providing patients with access to supportive care programs has a direct impact on their treatment outcomes and our ability to deliver value-based medical care. It results in a reduction in the length of inpatient stays, hospital readmissions and ICU stays, and an improved quality of life and patient satisfaction.”

The donation will bolster existing efforts to train providers in the delivery of supportive care. Additionally, City of Hope plans to drive research to inform care guidelines and develop digital tools that other health providers can use.

City of Hope will also use the funding to educate stakeholders on the importance of supportive care programs, aiding in its goal to expand supportive care access.

“It is equally important to us to evolve the supportive care model within City of Hope’s expanded cancer care system and also improve access for patients and their families so that wherever they go for cancer treatment, they have access to high-quality supportive care programs that improve their lives and outcomes,” said Audrey Haberman, CEO of The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation.

In addition, supportive care programs can target disparities faced by communities with unique needs. Historically, Black people have lower cancer survival rates than White people due to systemic inequities.

Elderly patients are vulnerable to care access barriers as cancer risk increases with age. Currently, more than half of all cancer patients are older than 65.

“Older populations, people of color, and economically disadvantaged communities face unique burdens, and barriers to cancer care,” Edward Kim, MD, MBA, professor of medical oncology and physician-in-chief at City of Hope Orange County, said in a press release. “Supportive care programs can level the playing field in health equity, giving all patients the care they deserve. We tailor our support to meet the specific needs of patients and family members at every step along the way.”

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