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Dana Farber affiliates with Pittsfield hospital

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, continuing efforts to extend its reach beyond Boston, has affiliated with Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.The arrangement means the two organizations can work together on clinical trials and will allow the community hospital’s doctors to consult Dana-Farber specialists when treating complex cases of cancer. “We [will] have the opportunity to share patients in a more streamlined way,” said Dr. Andrew Norden, Dana-Farber’s associate chief medical officer. Dana-Farber has agreements to treat cancer patients at some other community hospitals, but the deal with Berkshire represents a new “membership” model, Norden said. Specialists from Dana-Farber and its partner, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, evaluated Berkshire’s cancer programs to make sure they were up to their standards before agreeing to the affiliation. Berkshire will pay Dana-Farber a fee and will be able to market itself as a member of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Care Collaborative. David E. Phelps, chief executive of Berkshire Medical’s parent company, said the relationship will “ensure the best future for cancer care in the Berkshire area.” Berkshire and Dana-Farber will submit their affiliation plan to the state Health Policy Commission, which reviews hospital deals. — PRIYANKA DAYAL MCCLUSKEY