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MD Anderson's call center helping new patients

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cancer is a word no one wants to hear. But when fighting a battle with cancer, many want to go to MD Anderson. But where do you start? We have tips to help you, many want to go to MD Anderson, the country's premiere cancer center. But where do you start? And what do you do about medical records and insurance?

Here's what you need to know to "get into" the world's biggest cancer hospital.

Last year 38,000 new cancer patients came to MD Anderson Cancer Center. Many were desperate to get in. Well you don't need a doctor to refer you, you don't need to know someone. You can do it yourself.

Dina Rios was scared of her cervical cancer and of calling MD Anderson.

"I was kinda intimidated at first to call because I thought, 'It's a big hospital, maybe they're not gonna -- there are so many people why would they focus on me?'" Rios said.

She called anyway and Jackie McCoy answered.

"Sometimes it's scary for them but I've been told over the phone that I have a calming voice," McCoy said.

That calm voice helped her gather the medical, insurance, financial records and get Rios' appointments set up.

"We get what we need to get them seen as quickly as possible," McCoy said.

McCoy answers phones with a team that works only with women who have gynecological cancers. And it's the same for other cancers. Nurses help gather the medical reports. The number to call is 877-632-6789. You can also go online to MDAnderson.org, where they try to return calls in 24 hours.

"The Internet allows patients to be actively involved in the registration and referral process so they can see where they are up to the minute," said Dr. Gerard Coleman, chief of clinical operations.

On occasion, they don't take a new patient who is too ill to travel. But that decision is made carefully by a medical team.

But last year, there were 115,000 visits.

Find Christi on Facebook at ABC13-Christi Myers or on Twitter at @ChristiMyers13

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