In 2010, Pat A. Basu, MD, MBA, was teaching medical and MBA students at Stanford University when he took a leave of absence to become a White House Fellow and senior adviser during the Obama administration and, for many healthcare reformers, those heady days when the ACA was signed into law.
“I always wanted to make an impact on our country and society and help to build a better American healthcare system — one that is more accessible, higher quality, safer, and more economically sustainable,” Basu said.
At the White House, he had a bird’s-eye view of the country’s healthcare problems and opportunities, and Basu used his time there to understand how the tangled and expensive American healthcare (non)system might be reformed.
Since April 2019, Basu has had a chance to use those insights as president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), a for-profit network of cancer hospitals and clinics competing in an area of healthcare dominated by some of the most recognizable names in American medicine: MD Anderson, Dana-Farber, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Fred Hutchinson. CTCA, which is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, has hospitals in the Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Tulsa metro areas, and two outpatient facilities in the Chicago area and three in Arizona.
According to the results of the CTCA’s latest treatment report, Georgia residents made up the largest proportion of new patients from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, on a state-by-state basis, accounting for 12% of the total (1,158 of 9,192).
“[Becoming president of the] CTCA was an opportunity to have a great impact on making the country a better place, making society a better place, and also building a better healthcare system,” says 40-year-old Basu. “Fundamentally, cancer has impacted me as a person, as a physician, and as a family member, so the opportunity to lead an organization that is fighting something that I have spent a career trying to defeat, with a platform that could leverage some of the things I have done in the past, was an incredible opportunity.”
Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was among those who showered Basu with praise when CTCA announced that he was taking the company’s top job. However, Basu took the helm of an organization that has weathered some criticism about the way it reports survival statistics; the latest treatment results report makes a point of mentioning that two outside experts reviewed the statistics. In Georgia, CTCA won a prolonged political and regulatory battle last year to expand its hospital in the Atlanta area.
Basu says treatment results released in early 2020 show that “our survival rates and patient symptoms have only gotten better, even though we manage very complex and very sick patients.” He adds, “I want to give a great deal of credence and credit to those who’ve come before me, but I think we’ve even further upped the bar there.”
Basu has also been working on increasing the number of payers who will cover patients treated at the organization’s centers.
“We have really expanded our access with new insurance contracts with a variety of large payers across the country,” he says. “We’ve gone from a large amount of people who had trouble accessing us because we might not have had an insurance contract to now 98%, 99% in-network with these commercial agreements.”