Published on January 09, 2012

Baptist Memorial Health Care Names Administrative Director for Soon-to-be Built Cancer Center

MEMPHIS, Tenn.- Laura Potts, formerly director of oncology services at Ascension Health at St. Mary’s Columbia in Milwaukee, has been named administrative director of Baptist Memorial Health Care’s integrated cancer center, which is slated to open in 2014 in the Wolf River medical corridor in Germantown.

In October, Baptist officials announced Dr. Joseph V. Simone, former CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and former physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, will serve as the center’s medical director for a time.

In August 2011, the state of Tennessee approved a $65 million certificate of need for Baptist to build the center, which will be the first of its kind in the area and will allow Baptist to consolidate many existing cancer services under one roof.

Potts will provide operational leadership and oversight for oncology infusion services, psychosocial services, cancer screenings, outreach programs and community education, tumor registry, research initiatives, radiation oncology services and medical staff relations. She will have financial oversight for the center’s business and clinical operations, develop programs to enhance the delivery of cancer care and help guide the execution of the overall strategic vision for the center and Baptist’s overall cancer services.

Since August, Baptist Memorial Medical Group, a part of Baptist Memorial Health Care, has been acquiring oncology physician practices, including the Family Cancer Center, Boston Baskin Cancer Group and Integrity Oncology, with the goal of developing the first integrated cancer center in the Mid-South.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Laura’s caliber in this position,” said Jason Little, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Baptist. “With her health care management knowledge, financial and business savvy, and experience in overseeing clinical research initiatives, she will help position the cancer center as a regional leader in cancer care and research.”

Little added that the new center will streamline care by providing many services at the same location, ultimately making the process more seamless for patients and their families.

“Cancer patients typically have to make 100 visits to their doctor in the first year after being diagnosed. Having oncologists and specialists in one location will give patients a convenient place to receive care, help foster a team approach to treatment and facilitate positive outcomes for our patients,” Little said.

Potts’ professional experience includes serving as vice president of health information services and clinical research for M. D. Anderson Cancer Network-Tarrant County Cancer Centers, based in Bedford, Texas. She also served as executive director of operations for Texas Oncology, PA, an independent oncology practice with more than 345 physicians and 135 sites of service throughout Texas and southeastern Oklahoma. Potts also held the title of administrative director of cancer services at St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas.

A graduate of The University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., Potts earned a master’s degree in health care administration and education from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and a doctorate degree in human resource development from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.

According to Sean Henneberger, associate executive director of the American Cancer Society, Memphis office, 34,750 new cancer cases were diagnosed in Tennessee in 2011, and that number is expected to grow during the next several years. In addition, more people are surviving cancer, and they need convenient access to outpatient services, Henneberger noted. He added having an integrated center for cancer services will help make care more efficient and convenient for patients, as well as facilitate optimal outcomes.

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