Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert

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Dr. Edgardo Rivera, the Medical Director of Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, talks about the economic and community benefits of the new facility that’s opening in Gilbert on September 26th.

Ted Simons: The new Banner M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is scheduled to open September 26th in Gilbert. Here to tell us more about this new specialty cancer facility is the center's medical director, Dr. Edgardo Rivera. Good to have you here, thanks for joining us.

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: Talk about the importance of this cancer center to Arizona.

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: Definitely. The Cancer Center definitely is going to be very important, not only to Phoenix, but to the Phoenix Metro area. Simply because the oncology care in this area for many years has been really fragmented. There are a lot of smaller practices, there's never been really a truly stand-alone cancer center. So bringing Banner and M.D. Anderson together really brings an expertise that was never here before.

Ted Simons: Is it unusual for experts in one particular field of care to merge to have a partnership, a deal, if you will, with a more broader care service? Is this kind of marriage unusual?

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: This has happened before. I think this is the first time it's happening here; you're bringing Banner Health, which is a major giant in this area when it comes to health care, bringing in -- M.D. Anderson in Houston has been ranked the No. 1 Cancer Center by U.S. News and World Report for many, many years, to bring them together toward oncology care in Phoenix.

Ted Simons: Sounds like it's also the kind of marriage, if you will, that would catch the attention of the industry. They will watch and see how things go.

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: That's correct. When it comes to their vision, their excellence of care from both institutions, it really was the marriage that was made in Heaven, if you want to put it that way. It's something that's going to be watched very carefully because we're sort of a unique situation. This is the first time M.D. Anderson Houston is offering a full-service cancer center outside Houston. So we're not a satellite clinic, we're a full-service cancer center. We will provide exactly the same services provided at M.D. Anderson Houston. It'll be disease specific.

Ted Simons: I would imagine that means certain cancers will be targeted?

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: That's correct. In this area it's very important. We have high incidence of breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate, and high incidence of ovarian, cervical. So we will have experts that are going to be focusing on those specific diseases. Sort of the same model that we have at M.D. Anderson Houston. To give an example, I actually worked at M.D. Anderson in Houston for 12 years. I'm a breast oncologist. I've also been doing breast cancer for more than 15 years now. We will have experts in a specific disease.

Ted Simons: Why wouldn't M.D. Anderson just open a facility in Arizona? Again, back to the partnership, back to the marriage. Why is that so important? Why did M.D. Anderson go that route?

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: Well, you know, M.D. Anderson needed the right partner, Banner needed the right partner, as well. Banner Health brings the business expertise. M.D. Anderson brings the clinical expertise and experience in oncology care. Banner has never had a stand-alone outpatient cancer facility. It really made sense to partner with in this case the right partner. We looked around for some time. We felt that M.D. Anderson was actually the right partner simply because of prestige and the reputation that they have had.

Ted Simons: Impact on health care costs, impact on health care reform, these kinds of things what does a partnership like this hold for the future?

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: Oh, it's really, I think we will probably see more of this type of partnerships in the future. Not necessarily with M.D. Anderson, not necessarily with Banner. But other institutions, simply because we have in this case -- you have Banner, bringing the business side. As you know there's been quite a lot of changes in health care and there are going to be more changes. You have M.D. Anderson that is known for their clinical expertise. It really makes sense to have both, to really have both sides in order to be able to manage and deal with some of the changes that are happening in health care.

Ted Simons: How many patients do you see, a general figure? What are you looking at out there, expecting to see?

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: We're actually expecting -- the projections will tell us that really we're going to see approximately 25% of all oncology care in this area.

Ted Simons: Does that suggest expansion plans then?

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: Yes, right now we're opening phase 1, an outpatient facility that is about 133,000 square feet. We have room to expand up to approximately 450,000 square feet. We're on the Banner-Gateway Campus so there's quite a lot of room to grow.

Ted Simons: It looks like a very modern looking facility; obviously, in terms of the economy, someone's going to have to build that. You've got some jobs there, and once built you would have development, commercial, retail, hotels, the whole nine yards.

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: That's correct, it's a major economic impact specifically in the East Valley. We will have 250 employees we have already hired, approximately 50 physicians. It'll be a major impact in that area simply because of the type of job and professionals that we're bringing. But also it's a domino effect. As we grow we will see probably growth in terms of retail, the hotel industry, et cetera.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Sounds like quite the project, sounds like you're ready to hit the ground running. Good to have you here.

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: Thank you so much.

Ted Simons: Thank you for joining us.

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: Thank you.

Dr. Edgardo Rivera: Medical Director of Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

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