Hires Core Cancer Surveillance Team from Prevea Cancer Center at Sacred Heart to Keep Trusted Team Together to Serve Over 500 Local Cancer Survivor Patients

EAU CLAIRE, WI – May 8, 2024 –To fill the large cancer care gap left by the HSHS/Prevea closures in Western Wisconsin, OakLeaf Clinics has opened Oncology Services at its Eau Claire Medical Clinic at 3802 W Oakwood Mall Drive in Eau Claire.  Over 500 local area cancer survivor patients who require regular, and often frequent, surveillance care for the rest of their lives, now have a local, long-term care option and won’t have to travel out of the area to seek the surveillance care they need.

Medical oncology specialist Dr. Mihailo Lalich leads OakLeaf Clinics Oncology Services with Angela Quick, Executive Director of Cancer Services, along with Sarah Reiter, Nurse Practitioner, and Jessica Gugel OCN, MSN, BSN, Oncology Nurse Navigator, all who served in the same roles at the Prevea Cancer Center at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. The Oncology Services team is supported by the other physicians, nurses, and staff at OakLeaf Clinics, and provide oncology services to the other clinics in the OakLeaf Medical Network.

The OakLeaf Clinics Oncology Services team has already scheduled over 300 patients for their regular surveillance care appointments.

“Keeping the excellent local Prevea Oncology team together has been a critical priority for OakLeaf Clinics and the OakLeaf Medical Network since HSHS announced that it was shuttering operations in January,” said Dr. Anton Kidess, Partner at OakLeaf Clinics. “OakLeaf Medical Network physicians had been referring their patients to the Prevea Cancer Center with total confidence for years. We moved quickly to keep as many of the providers in place locally as possible and are happy that we’ll be able to provide the excellent long-term care these patients need to live a healthy life after cancer.”

Dr. Lalich added, “Our team is honored to join the OakLeaf Clinics team and is looking forward to continuing caring for the patients we have come to know so well.”


Patients Appreciate Trusted Team

Cancer patients and their care teams regularly develop close and trusted relationships, as patients regularly see the same nurses, doctors, and care providers for many years, while they deal with potentially life-threatening diseases.

Ruth Lambert, 43, of Fall Creek, WI a former cancer treatment patient at Prevea Cancer Center, whose final cancer treatment appointments were moved out of the area with the local center’s closure, is now a patient of OakLeaf Clinics Oncology Services for her surveillance care.

“I’m very happy that Dr. Lalich and Jessica and Sarah are still together as a team at OakLeaf Clinics for cancer survivor patients like me,” said Lambert. “To be able to come back to the team I already trusted so close to home is a great relief as we navigate my future. I plan to have a long, cancer free life and I know this team will do whatever they can to make sure that comes true.”


Cancer Surveillance Care

Cancer surveillance care is highly personalized and is unique to the type of cancer diagnosis each patient had and the treatment received. Each diagnosis has a National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Care Plan that articulates frequency of surveillance visits and scans, exams, and lab tests required. Frequency ranges from every three weeks for an examination to every six months with scans and labs to annual visits.


Cancer Treatment Timeline

Cancer care is divided into three general categories: screenings, diagnosis and treatment, and surveillance care post treatment.

Currently, OakLeaf Clinics Oncology is focused on 1) increasing cancer screening workflows to “catch” cancer in its earliest stages, which dramatically improves care options and healthy outcomes, and 2) providing surveillance care, the regular, and sometimes frequent, exams, scans and labs the help cancer survivors remain cancer-free for the rest of their lives.

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, require a licensed hazardous drug pharmacy and a linear accelerator. OakLeaf Clinics cannot offer cancer treatments at this time and, with the OakLeaf Medical Network, is working closely with the Chippewa Valley Healthcare Cooperative to explore fast tracking opening a cancer center as quickly as possible in the region. Plans and timing will be announced by the Cooperative in the future.

The over 300 patients who were receiving cancer treatment at the Prevea Cancer Center at Sacred Heart Hospital, have been receiving treatment at different cancer centers throughout Western, Southwestern, South Central, and Central Wisconsin, as well as the Twin Cities area, and Rochester Minnesota.


About OakLeaf Clinics

OakLeaf Clinics, the largest clinic in the OakLeaf Medical Network, provides primary and specialty care through its 11 clinics in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Cornell, Ladysmith, Menomonie, Rice Lake, and outreach clinics in Altoona, Amery, Baldwin, Black River Falls, Cumberland, Shell Lake, Stanley and Turtle Lake.


About OakLeaf Medical Network

OakLeaf Medical Network, comprised exclusively of independent clinics, is the largest independent physician association in Western Wisconsin, with over 350 medical providers (130 physicians) with 40 specialties working across 31 clinics in 15 counties. Over 33,500 primary care patients are served by OakLeaf Medical Network providers. Originally founded in 1994 by a local group of physicians committed to preserving the unique values of independent medical practices including personal care, continuity of care, and easier access to care, as a “clinic without walls,” the organization has evolved and grown over time.

Today the clinics under the OakLeaf Medical Network include: OakLeaf Clinics (founded in 2015) with its 11 divisions, Buffalo River Clinic, Chippewa Valley Anesthesia Associates, Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic, Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic Chippewa Falls, Chippewa Valley Neurosciences, Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Confluence Healthcare, DeFatta ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery, Diagnostic Radiology Associates, Eau Claire G.I. Associates, Evergreen Surgical, Foot and Ankle Clinic, Hesse Foot & Ankle Clinic, Interventional Pain Specialists of Wisconsin, Medical X-Ray Consultants, Merrick Plastic & Hand Surgery, Northwest Radiation Oncology Associates, Nystrom & Associates, Pathology, SC, Plastic Surgery Clinic of Eau Claire, Spears Pain and Rehab, Sunrise Family Care Clinic, Thomas Peller, MD, Western Wisconsin Urology, Winding Rivers Counseling, and Wisconsin Brain & Spine Center.

OakLeaf Medical Network clinics are in the following counties: Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Pepin, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Trempealeau, and Washburn.

The OakLeaf Medical Network was founded on the premise of making quality accessible health care available to patients in their community, not miles away.