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For Immediate Release

For more information, contact:
Gloria O'Connell, 612-863-4801


Virginia Piper Cancer Institute named Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers by BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS 10/08/2008--BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota has named Abbott Northwestern Hospital's Virginia Piper Cancer Institute a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers. This program identifies facilities within participating Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield network service areas that offer comprehensive, inpatient cancer care programs for adults, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise in treating complex and rare subtypes of cancer.

"This designation by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, acknowledges the comprehensive and coordinated care that we provide at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute," said Timothy Sielaff, MD, PhD, medical director of the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute. "Patients with rare and complex cancers benefit greatly from our multidisciplinary approach to care and our ongoing commitment to clinical research and the use of the latest technology and innovative treatments."

Emblem for Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers The Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers program has been developed in collaboration with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and with input from a panel of leading clinicians. The evidence-based selection criteria used to award this distinction include:

  • exceeding a volume threshold for annual surgical cases treated
  • utilization of multidisciplinary team input for treatment planning, including sub-specialty trained teams
  • participation in ongoing quality management and improvement programs for cancer care
  • commitment to using clinical data registries and participation in relevant clinical research

It is estimated that of the 1.4 million Americans who will be diagnosed with a form of cancer this year, 15 percent will have a form of rare or complex cancer. More than 90 Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers have been designated across 32 states to help address the needs of patients with these rare and complex forms of cancer.

Note: Designation as Blue Distinction Centers means these facilities' overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians' and leading professional organizations' recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. To find out which services are covered under your policy at any facilities, please call your local Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plan.

About Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Abbott Northwestern Hospital is part of Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a not-for-profit health care system of hospitals, clinics and other patient care services that provides exceptional care to communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin and employs more than 22,000 people. Allina Hospitals & Clinics facilities, services and jobs can be found online at

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