Dana-Farber, Beth Israel Deaconess collaborating on standalone cancer center

Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) announced plans to build an independent, freestanding cancer hospital—a first-in-the-region move with ramifications for the former’s longtime relationship with nearby Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The adult inpatient cancer hospital will be operated by Dana-Farber and built on BIDMC’s Longwood Medical Area campus adjacent to the organization’s other facilities. Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians, BIDMC’s affiliated physician group, will also play a role in coordinating and delivering care, according to the announcement.

“We believe this will position us to provide world-renowned cancer treatment in outpatient and inpatient settings well into the future,” Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D., president and CEO of Dana-Farber, said in a release. “Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the physicians of HMFP share our vision and are equally committed to ensuring a superior patient experience and advancing a collaborative focus on world-class cancer care and research that will benefit our region and the world.”

The organizations said the new setup—which the organizations said “will take several years” of regulatory approvals and construction—will increase cancer patient capacity in the Boston area while supporting and incorporating cancer care research.

But the deal also rewrites an arrangement Dana-Farber had with another major Boston-area healthcare player since the late 1990s.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, part of nonprofit giant Mass General Brigham, had been hosting Dana-Farber’s inpatient oncology and surgical cancer care. The affiliation has been “long-renowned for its positive outcomes and high-quality patient care,” Dana-Farber executives said, and will continue through the transition until the Dana-Farber Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Collaboration is completed.

In a statement, Brigham and Women’s Hospital reiterated the years of clinical successes its “exceptional partnership” with Dana-Farber yielded for “hundreds of thousands” of cancer patients.

However, the organization made a point to tout the cancer care and research credentials that will be staying put after the transition.

The “highly trained cancer specialists” that were “fully responsible” for surgical, radiation oncology and diagnostic care will remain with Brigham and Women’s, it said while highlighting that Brigham and Women’s and its sister academic medical facility, Massachusetts General Hospital, receive more federal medical research funding and perform more cancer-related surgeries than any other U.S. hospitals.

“There will be no changes to the excellent care that our patients currently receive,” Brigham and Women’s said in its statement. “… At a time when more people are being diagnosed with cancer and other complex illnesses than ever before, Brigham and Women’s Hospital is unwavering in its total commitment to compassionately provide the advanced, research-infused care that will help define the future of the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer.”

The shakeup won’t have an impact on Dana-Farber’s outpatient oncology services or its pediatric cancer care partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital, according to the announcement.

Beth Israel Lahey Health, the parent system of BIDMC, will continue to invest in the cancer services at BIDMC and its hospitals beyond the collaboration, the organization said. However, its independent oncology program will wind down once the new facility is ready.

“Together, we are taking bold steps to transform how we care for individuals and families touched by cancer, expand equitable access to life-changing care, and harness the power of scientific discovery,” Kevin Tabb, M.D., president and CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health, said in the announcement. “This collaboration and a dedicated, free-standing cancer hospital will be truly unique in Massachusetts. Our community needs and deserves both.”