Cancer Support Community and BASS Medical Group Create Unique Collaboration to Increase Support to Cancer Patients and Families

Pictured in the photo: From BASS: CEO Inez Wondeh, MPA, MBA; Jesse Kaestner, BS, RT(T); K. Kenneth Chao, M.D.; Dr. Soheila Azghadi, BASS Medical Group; From CSC: Board President, Donald Duggan; Board VP, Patricia Falconer, MBA; Danielle Bertoni (and BASS), Rob Tufel, MSW, MPH; Margaret Stauffer, LMFT

Cancer Support Community San Francisco Bay Area (CSC) and BASS Cancer Center, a division of BASS Medical Group, have partnered to develop an automated patient screening process to identify and refer patients at an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and stress to free mental health services provided by Cancer Support Community.

This new referral process is now integrated into BASS Cancer Center’s electronic medical record system. Patient’s will automatically be provided information for CSC’s services when they indicate an increased risk of mental and emotional stress related to their cancer diagnosis.

“As many as three out of every four cancer survivors experience symptoms of psychological distress which can negatively impact clinical outcomes and quality of life. Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of patients are referred for support by their medical team. The lack of support is even more pronounced among cancer patients from communities of color and those who have lower incomes as well as older adults,” says Rob Tufel, MSW, MPH, Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Support Community.” CSC Board Member, Patricia Falconer, MBA, notes that “40% of Cancer patients experience financial hardship as a result of their diagnosis. This unique collaboration between CSC and community-based cancer providers is a model of how to increase patients’ access to vital support including financial assistance and navigation.”

This new screening tool was developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network––an alliance of 32 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care research, and education––and is designed to look for evidence of psychological, social, spiritual, and physical indicators that may interfere with one’s ability to cope effectively with cancer, its physical symptoms, and its treatment. “As the number of cancer patients continue to increase, it is vital that we offer not only high-quality medical care but also comprehensive support,” explains Inez Wondeh, MPA, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of BASS Medical Group, “It was really important to us to develop a streamlined process to better address our patient’s needs and partnering with Cancer Support Community, who already provides excellent psychosocial services for patients and families at no cost, was a natural fit. This will make an incredible impact for our patients.”