BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center announces a new partnership with OneOncology after a long-time partnership with Our Lady of the Lake (OLOL).

An official agreement between Mary Bird Perkins and OneOncology is scheduled to take place in the fall of this year.

The partnership will allow Mary Bird Perkins access to a national network of physicians, information technology assets and national buying power, according to a news release. Mary Bird Perkins said they anticipate program growth, lower costs for patients and expanded access to clinical trials.

“Partnering with OneOncology is yet another milestone for Mary Bird Perkins as we recognize our 50 years of community-based cancer care,” said Todd Stevens, president and chief executive officer, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “OneOncology and Mary Bird Perkins believe that focusing solely on the needs of individuals impacted by cancer by elevating doctor-patient relationships and bolstering technology, medicine and other key initiatives are critical in keeping pace with the rapid innovations in the field.”

Southeastern Louisiana Radiation Oncology Group and Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates will also be joining in on the partnership. Southeastern Louisiana Radiation Oncology Group services St. Tammany and Washington parishes. Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates services the Baton Rouge area.

 “As oncologists, we look forward to the advances OneOncology will bring to the table. The company will also aid us in driving the future of cancer care delivery through a patient-centric, physician-driven and technology-powered model to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer,” said Charles Wood, MD, medical director, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

OLOL was seemingly blindsided by Mary Bird Perkins’ decision to move on to a new partnership.

A statement was issued by a spokesperson from OLOL:

“Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center is the largest provider of cancer services in Louisiana. We were reassured by Mary Bird Perkins that their preference was to continue our relationship for the radiation and management services they provide. We were stunned to learn only last night that they are selling to an out-of-state private equity group. 

We are very disheartened to see our good work together in cancer care, built over the past decade, being dismantled for out-of-state interests. Ultimately, this hurts our community since gold standard cancer care around the world is provided through strong integrated alignments that only health systems such as ours can provide. Seeing one of our trusted partners make a financial sale of a community not-for-profit asset is sad and calls up questions for partners, donors and patients. 

Their choice to enter into an agreement with OneOncology, alters the original intent of Mary Bird Perkins’ founders as a community asset for radiation cancer treatment committed to improving lives and reducing the burden of cancer. We’ve all watched these outside groups enter into communities and make decisions strictly for their out-of-state profit and investors. While we are unfamiliar with OneOncology locally, we are aware of their unsuccessful ventures in other communities. We hope Mary Bird Perkins understands the choice they are making and the consequences to everyone who has trusted them for decades. 

We have confidence that Our Lady of the Lake’s world-class multidisciplinary physicians and teams will continue to provide excellent comprehensive cancer care: surgical, medical and infusions. Our organization has never stepped away from what is right. As our team currently performs miracles in this COVID-19 surge, we are even more disappointed by Mary Bird Perkins’ decision and dismayed by the swift nature of this out-of-state transaction. Our values compel us to put the community first and as we know more we will move forward responsibly.”

Mary Bird Perkins and OLOL started working together in 1992 and entered an agreement in 2012 with the goal of becoming the premier cancer center for the Gulf Coast.