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Advanced Medical Specialties Joins US Oncology Network

HOUSTON, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Advanced Medical Specialties, a 47-physician oncology practice located in the greater Miami area, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to join US Oncology's network. Advanced Medical Specialties is one of the largest oncology practices in the U.S.

"In today's challenging healthcare environment, we believe joining the US Oncology network will keep us in the strongest position to continue delivering the highest quality, state-of-the-art care to our patients," said Dr. Leonard Kalman, Chairman of the Board of Managers of Advanced Medical Specialties and a practicing medical oncologist. "US Oncology's proven ability to contribute to the quality of patient care and enhance practice operations and growth will be invaluable to our team and will help us remain firmly at the leading edge of cancer care."

US Oncology provides access to a wide range of services, resources and expertise to help oncologists deliver high quality patient care. Services are available to support practice productivity and efficiency, financial operations, drug acquisition and management, state-of-the-art clinical research, cancer center development, clinical and patient support resources, and more. The availability of these rapidly expanding resources is designed to help oncology practices expand patient access to high quality, advanced and integrated cancer care, the central mission of US Oncology.

Advanced Medical Specialties was founded in July 2005 through the merger of the Oncology Hematology Group of South Florida and Oncology and Radiation Associates. Today the practice has 47 physicians operating in 18 locations, and offers its patients a variety of oncology services, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, gynecologic oncology, pediatric oncology, and medical imaging.

"We are pleased by both the additional support US Oncology will provide our practice and the ability we will now have to interact with the more than 1,100 oncologists in their national network. Working with the network to create and to share best practices will drive further progress in the fight against cancer and be of great benefit to our patients," said Dr. Oscar Tercilla, M.D., a radiation oncologist at AMS and a member of its Board of Managers.

Physician members of the US Oncology network have the opportunity to actively engage in a variety of national committees and working groups, much like an oncology think tank, to share and to create new and improved clinical and operational processes that advance the delivery of cancer care for their patients.

One specific physician-led initiative resulting from that collaboration is the development and implementation of an evidence-based approach to cancer care called Cancer Care Pathways. Pathways improve the quality of treatment decision making for all patients by providing physicians with up-to-date information on the clinical evidence supporting the use of various therapies.

Often, the need for new services and resources also result from the physician committees. One example is the company's efforts to improve the efficiency and safety of drug acquisition, management and delivery. Last year the company became the first oncology distributor to launch an ePedigree drug tracking system that tracks drugs, from the manufacturer to patient, helping to protect the integrity of the drug and improve overall safety. The company also launched a national oral oncology pharmacy to provide needed services to patients and practices in the emerging area of oral therapies.

US Oncology Research, one of the nation's largest community-based cancer research networks, is a 500-physician research network that provides many opportunities to offer patients the latest therapies in development, from Phase I - Phase IV trials. It has also played a pivotal role in the development of 24 of the last 30 cancer therapeutics approved by the FDA.

"We are very excited that Advanced Medical Specialties has decided to join our network," said Bruce Broussard, president of US Oncology. "Their unrelenting commitment to delivering the most advanced, comprehensive cancer care to their patients and to advancing the development of new therapies through clinical research is in perfect alignment with our mission. We look forward to their contributions and participation in our network, and to working together to provide the best care for patients."

The addition of Advanced Medical Specialties to the network is representative of a strong trend in affiliation with US Oncology. According to the company's third quarter financial filings, 138 physicians affiliated with US Oncology in the first nine months of 2007.

Morgan Joseph & Co. Inc. served as an exclusive financial advisor to Advanced Medical Specialties in this transaction.

About US Oncology, Inc.

US Oncology, headquartered in Houston, Texas, supports one of the nation's largest cancer treatment and research networks. US Oncology provides extensive services and support to its affiliated cancer care sites nationwide to help them expand their offering of the most advanced treatments and technologies, build integrated community-based cancer care centers, improve their therapeutic drug management programs and participate in many of the new cancer-related clinical research studies. US Oncology is affiliated with 1,164 physicians operating in 443 locations, including 91 radiation oncology facilities in 39 states.

SOURCE US Oncology
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