Health Alert: The Bridge Program

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Welcome back to Health Alert as tonight we are going to discuss the Bridge Program a new collaborative effort between United Hospital Center and WVU Cancer Institute. Joining us to provide the details of this very important initiative is Linda Carte, RN, MSN, AOCN, vice president of oncology and post-acute care at UHC.

Question: Linda, provide us with an overview concerning the Bridge Program.

Answer: Nate, the goal of the WVU Cancer Institute and United Hospital Center’s Bridge Program is to improve the coordination of care and decrease the consequences of treatment for patients diagnosed with stage I, II, or III lung cancer after they complete treatment. Our clinics are designed to partner with the patient to provide a person-centered approach to survivorship care planning and to identify ongoing physical, social, emotional, and financial needs. We want to relieve any post-treatment issues and assist the patient to thrive beyond lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.

In addition to our monthly clinic, the Bridge Program also works to lower the impact of lung cancer recurrence by promoting increased surveillance, increase provider knowledge of survivorship issues through podcasts and an annual Lung Cancer Conference, and educate the community at large, through social media, and promotion of community.

Question: In preparing for this interview I did not realize that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in West Virginia, so tell us did the Bridge Program evolve due to this statistic?

Answer: The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation committed $25M in funding to Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative to address health care disparities in cancer care and support. The Foundation partnered with the WVU Cancer Institute and the Cecil B. Highland, Jr. & Barbara B. Highland Cancer Center at United Hospital Center to develop, implement, and evaluate an innovative model of comprehensive, coordinated care to better meet the needs of lung cancer survivors and their caregivers.

Question: Why is this program important for those who are surviving other types of cancers?

Answer: While Lung Cancer survivors are the first to have the opportunity to participate in this bridge program, it is a model that can certainly be extended to all those surviving cancer to improve quality of life after diagnosis and treatment. We are looking forward to this ongoing collaboration to improve cancer care for the many communities we serve.


Question: What would a patient experience in the Bridge Program’s monthly clinic?

Answer: The Bridge Program brings together health care professionals from multiple disciplines to create a comprehensive care plan tailored to the specific needs of each patient.

During the half-day clinic, each patient has the opportunity to meet individually with a nurse practitioner, licensed social worker, dietician, psychiatrist, physical therapist, and occupational therapist.

Those Enrolled In the Program Will:

· Meet with multiple care providers in a half-day clinic

· Receive a comprehensive, person-centered survivorship plan on the day of attendance

· Meet with other survivors and their families

· Receive information on valuable resources to survivors of lung cancer

· Have continued assistance from a program coordinator, who will ensure the needs identified in the survivorship plan are met

In the months following the clinic, the patient can expect follow-up communication from the program coordinator and additional assessments that are completed to ensure patient satisfaction and assistance with ongoing health concerns/needs.