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Monday, Jul 22, 2024

Cancer Specialty Clinic Treats Employees Like Family

Vu Phan, chief executive of Cancer and Blood Specialty Clinic, makes himself available at all hours of the day and night to both his patients and employees.

Patient phone calls go directly to his cellphone, as do calls from employees.

Phan said that he wants people at the company to feel like they’re a part of a “family” opposed to just being “employees in the office.”

“We thought that it was important to have a very supportive environment where employees feel like they love to come to work,” Phan told the Business Journal.

Phan in 2009 founded the Los Alamitos-based private practice that provides a range of services, including chemotherapy and infusion for cancer and blood disorders.

Two and a half years ago, Cancer and Blood Specialty Clinic had only two physicians. It has since grown to 11 physicians across its seven locations and expects to have 21 physicians by next year.

The reason behind this growth lies in “the way we treat our employees,” Phan said.

The company ranks No. 31 on the Business Journal’s latest Best Places to Work list in the small size category for firms with between 15 to 49 U.S. employees (see list).

Physician Partners

Unlike other practices, the physicians at Cancer and Blood Specialty Clinic are partners.

“That really drives happiness because everybody is an owner,” Phan said. “They’re protective of the practice and really make it their own.”

Through this model, physicians are made equal partners and get full transparency to data related to productivity and costs, according to Phan.

These partner physicians also gain access to the growing clinical trial program. A majority of the program’s current trials are focused on immunotherapy, which Phan believes is where the future of cancer treatment is heading towards.

Phan received his medical degree from the University of California, Irvine in 1994 and did his residency at University of Southern California Medical Center before completing a three-year oncology fellowship at City of Hope from 2003 to 2006.

The ability to make decisions without running into “bureaucratic red tape” is what mainly drove him to pursue private practice.

Phan said he can start a clinical trial within two weeks at his own practice, whereas it may take up to six months at an academic institution.

“We can move very quickly to make sure that we have a trial that’s open for patients,” Phan said.


“We have to compete for the same employees as everybody else around us,” Phan said, referring to hospitals and universities in the area.

One way Cancer and Blood Specialty Clinic does this is by providing a full match to employees’ 401(k) to help offset the expensive cost of living in California, Phan said.

Flexibility has been another key factor in both attracting and keeping good employees.

When faced with one administrator from Temecula, who wanted to quit to be closer to her family, Phan offered to let her work remotely.

“What we realized was that when we find the best people, we will go out of our way to accommodate them,” Phan said.

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