Brain tumor second opinion service: providing advanced care and peace of mind

Patients with a newly diagnosed or existing brain tumor now can get a virtual second opinion about their diagnosis and treatment options at Providence Brain and Spine Institute. Patients can have their case reviewed by a multidisciplinary brain tumor team – providing peace of mind and additional information to support their decision-making. Providence and non-Providence patients in Oregon and southwest Washington are eligible for the service.

Launched in August 2020 as part of a pilot program, Providence Brain and Spine Institute’s Brain Tumor Second Opinion Program gives patients timely, affordable access to a highly experienced multidisciplinary team of brain tumor experts. Patients pay $150 to have their case reviewed within seven to 10 business days by the program’s team, headed by neuro-oncology and neurosurgery in consultation with other specialties as needed for each individual case.

After the medical records are reviewed, a video visit is scheduled with the patient. A neuro-oncologist or neurosurgeon will share the team’s second opinion about the diagnosis or treatment. A care coordinator helps guide the patient through the process from medical records collection through the virtual visit with the physician.

Providence St. Joseph Health is looking at options to expand the second opinion service into other diagnoses, clinical programs and service areas.



What is the process for getting a second opinion?

  1. Patients fill in the online form to create their account. If they need help creating the account, they can call 503-216-1055
  2. Patients provide their email address and basic contact information, plus details about where their medical records and imaging can be obtained. Everything is handled securely to protect patient privacy.
  3. A care coordinator will contact the patient to address any questions and get additional information as needed.
  4. Providence’s multidisciplinary brain tumor team will review the patient’s diagnosis and imaging to create a treatment plan. A specialist will schedule a video second opinion appointment with the patient to discuss the team’s recommendations and to answer questions.

How long does it take?

The timing depends partially on when we get the patient’s medical records. The entire process generally takes seven to 10 business days. The patient’s care coordinator will keep them updated on the schedule.

How much does it cost?

Providence is committed to keeping the cost as low as possible - $150. That fee includes:

  • Patient access to their personal care coordinator 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday
  • Collection and review of records by our specialists
  • Virtual visit with Providence Brain and Spine Institute second opinion provider
  • Written opinion from our specialist

Is this covered by insurance?

At present, most health plans do not cover online virtual second opinions. Payment is due when the second opinion request is accepted.

What happens after the second opinion?

Our specialists may agree with the original diagnosis and treatment plan, offering the patient peace of mind. Or our specialists may agree with the initial diagnosis but recommend different or additional treatments. In some cases, our specialists may have a different diagnosis entirely and will recommend a different course of treatment.

Whatever the result of the second opinion, patients are encouraged to schedule time with their own health care provider to review the recommendation and work together to come up with the best treatment approach.

If a patient decides to come to Providence Brain and Spine Institute in Portland, Oregon, for treatment, their personal care coordinator will help schedule an in-person appointment.   

Most common brain tumor types at Providence Brain and Spine Institute:

Acoustic neuroma
Choroid plexus papilloma
Colloid cyst
Epidermoid tumors
Metastatic brain tumor
Metastatic germ cell tumor
Neuroepithelial tumor
Pineal tumors
Pituitary tumor and related conditions:
            Cushing’s disease
            Pituitary adenoma
Rathke’s cleft cyst
Sinonasal carcinoma
Spinal cord tumors


Article authored by: 
Ricky Chen, M.D., neuro-oncologist
Director of Neuro-Oncology
Providence Brain and Spine Institute, Providence Cancer Institute

Pankaj Gore, M.D., neurosurgeon
Director of Brain Tumor and Skull-Base Surgery
Providence Brain and Spine Institute

The Oregon Clinic
Portland, Oregon



About the Author

The inScope content team focuses on bringing you the latest in clinical news from our team of world-class medical providers and physician leaders.

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