Vinod P. Balachandran, MD
Pancreatic Cancer; Benign, Premalignant, and Malignant Diseases of the Pancreas, Bile Duct, Gallbladder, and Liver
New Patient Appointments
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Dr. Balachandran accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Aetna HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Aetna does not include us in any of the plans you can purchase through the insurance exchanges or through Medicare. Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral. MSK has an agreement with the Aetna Transplant Program for all Aetna's commercial products.
In New York State
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Wellpoint) of New York HMO, EPO, PPO, and POS plans, with the following exceptions:
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering is not an in-network provider for Empire's Medicare Managed Care plan known as Mediblue). However, effective 1/1/22, most of Empire's BCBS Medicare Advantage plans, including the NYC retiree Plus plan, will be in-network with MSK. Please call Empire BCBS to confirm if you specific plan is in-network.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In New Jersey
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey plans for individuals, families, and small businesses. For example, the PPO plan is in-network with our Manhattan locations.
Horizon Blue Cross HMO is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations. It does not allow access to our Manhattan facilities.
Horizon Blue Cross PPO is in network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen, Monmouth and Manhattan locations.
OMNIA Plans: Tier I EPO based plan policy is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations and does not allow access to our Manhattan sites. Tier II EPO is only in-network with our Manhattan sites if it is a blue-card plan (there would be a suitcase logo indicating PPO on the front of the card).
Other plans may only be in-network at our Basking Ridge, Bergen or Monmouth locations.
Outside New York State and New Jersey
Some, but not all, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans outside of New York and New Jersey include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Contact your insurance to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
We understand that there may be many complexities involved with insurance coverage purchased through the health exchange network of the Affordable Care Act. We’re here to help. If you have questions about how your care will be covered by an insurance provider, or need help navigating a change in coverage, please call us at 646-227-3378; if you are not a resident of New York, you can call us at 866-248-1274. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and assist you in any way we can. We want our care to be as accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with CIGNA's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. CIGNA does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
- If you are a New York State resident: Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral.
- If you live outside of New York State: Please ask your insurance if you have in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with EmblemHealth’s PPO, EPO, POS, HMO plans and Medicare plans. Emblem Health does not include us in any of its Select Care network plans or in their Medicare Bold and Reserved Networks plans. EmblemHealth includes GHI, HIP, Vytra, and ConnecticCare (in NYS Only). You must bring a referral from your Emblem primary care doctor to your first appointment.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthFirst’s commercial products; these commercial products are not purchased on the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthSmart’s Accel, HSPC, and HPO networks.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Humana.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Interlink Health Services.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Lifetrac.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for all MagnaCare health plans except those products you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
In New York: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s New York locations are in-network with the Emblem
In New Jersey: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s New Jersey locations in Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth are in-network with the Horizon Medicare Advantage Plan. This plan is not accepted for care provided at MSK’s New York locations.
If you are enrolled in any other Medicare Advantage plan, please contact your insurance carrier to determine your benefits and coverage at Memorial Sloan Kettering since your access may be limited.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is not an in-network provider in Emblem’s Medicare Bold or Reserved Network plans. However, effective 4/1/22, most of the Empire BCBS Medicare Advantage plans, including the NYC retiree Plus plan, will be in-network with MSK. Please call Empire BCBS to confirm if your specific plan is in-network.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Multiplan.
If you are covered by more than one insurance plan, you will want to determine your benefits from both plans. First, you need to determine which one is your primary insurance provider by contacting your employee benefits office or your insurance carriers. After you find out which is your primary insurance provider, you should then contact your insurance carrier to determine if you have access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some MVP plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for New York State employees who have enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services. If you have the Empire Plan, you should call Cancer Resources Services at 866-936-6002 to verify and enroll in this coverage.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is in-network with Oscar’s Circle Plus Network, a part of its Small Group Broad line that is offered only to select small business groups. Oscar does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider for any of its individual plans. Please confirm eligibility with your insurance carrier.
We have agreements with several insurance companies that may provide additional coverage for cancer patients. These benefit programs include:
- AXA Assistance USA
- Beech Street
- Integrated Health Plans
- National Health Administrators
- National Preferred Provider Network
- UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services
- United Resource Network
- Veterans Choice Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Oxford’s Freedom and Liberty plans as well as the Metro Plan (which is only offered to small business groups and no longer offered as individual plans). Please confirm with your insurance if you need a one-time referral. Note: Oxford’s Medicare Managed Care plan — Secure Horizon — does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Oxford does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with the World Trade Center Health Program.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with QualCare's PPO and HMO/POS network.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Specialty Care Management.
Hospital and physician services may be covered by TRICARE. Please call your TRICARE plan to confirm coverage at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with UnitedHealthCare's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Please confirm with your insurance if a one-time referral is needed.
UnitedHealthCare's Medicare Managed Care plan does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider.
United does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by UnitedHealthcare.
Contact and Location
Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offer many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.
MD, SUNY at Stony Brook
General Surgery - New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Complex Surgical Oncology - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
I am a surgical oncologist who specializes in treating people with both benign and cancerous diseases of the pancreas, bile duct, gallbladder, and liver.
Our team philosophy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is that every patient is unique in all aspect. Each person has individual needs, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, and during recovery. This is particularly important when treating cancers of the pancreas, bile duct, gallbladder, and liver. These cancers are among the most complex to treat. They require an experienced surgical team. My partners at MSK and I have extensive experience treating these tumors and have pioneered many of the surgical techniques to safely remove them. We perform close to 1,000 operations a year. We have also developed laparoscopic and robotic surgical approaches and use these techniques whenever possible. They allow people to recover faster after surgery. Individualized treatment can often have many parts, such as chemotherapy and other treatments in addition to surgery. The international leaders on our team have expertise in medical oncology, gastroenterology, radiology, pathology, and nursing. We work to ensure the best possible treatment for every person we care for and meet as a team to discuss all details of patient care. Our primary goal is to provide people with exceptional care in the most careful, efficient, and speedy way possible.
In addition to performing surgeries and caring for patients, I do laboratory research to identify new ways to use the immune system to fight pancreatic cancer. I am also a member of the David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK. T cells are highly specialized cells in the immune system that are designed to protect the human body from infections and cancer. In the past decade, we have discovered that T cells can recognize and kill cancers. With this understanding, we have been able to develop treatments called immunotherapies to supercharge T cells and overcome cancer’s defenses.
Immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer have been limited because we didn’t know what draws T cells into these tumors. My laboratory tackled this question with a deep examination of extremely rare long-term survivors of pancreatic cancer. This group survived six years on average. Most other people with the disease do not survive that long. Our investigations have found that tumors of long-term survivors have 12 times more activated T cells. The exceptional survival of these people is linked to the T cells recognizing a certain mutation in cancer proteins called neoantigens. These proteins make cancer resemble an infection. Strikingly, T cells recognizing these neoantigens can be found in the blood of long-term survivors up to 12 years after the tumors were surgically removed. This finding suggests that neoantigens are very effective in generating long-lasting “immune memory” against tumors, and they could serve as effective cancer vaccines. We are now developing clinical trials of personalized cancer vaccines in combination with other immunotherapies to treat pancreatic and other cancers.
I am a recipient of the National Institutes of Health Paul Calabresi Career Development Award, the Society for Surgical Oncology Harvey Barker Travelling Fellow Award, the American Association for Cancer Research Career Development Award, and the Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award. I am the principal investigator of several research initiatives, including a Cancer Moonshot Award from the National Cancer Institute and a Convergence Award from Stand Up To Cancer.
Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.
- Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Dr. Balachandran
- A Phase IA Study of ELI-002 Immunotherapy to Treat RAS-Mutated Pancreatic Cancer and Other Solid Tumors
Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.
You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.
Research and Publications
Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Balachandran’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.
MSK requires doctors and faculty members to report (“disclose”) the relationships and financial interests they have with external entities. As a commitment to transparency with our community, we make that information available to the public.
Vinod P. Balachandran discloses the following relationships and financial interests:
No disclosures meeting criteria for time period
If you’re a patient at MSK and would like more information about your doctor’s external relationships, please talk with your doctor.
The information published here is for a specific annual disclosure period. There may be differences between information on this and other public sites as a result of different reporting periods and/or the various ways relationships and financial interests are categorized by organizations that publish such data.
This page and data include information for a specific MSK annual disclosure period (January 1, 2020 through disclosure submission in spring 2021). This data reflects interests that may or may not still exist. This data is updated annually.