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Mich. proton beam consortium meets first CON deadline

Statewide approach will bring cutting-edge cancer treatment to Mich. in cost-effective, coordinated way

Please Note: The articles listed in the Cancer Center's News Archive are here for historical purposes. The information and links may no longer be up-to-date.

added 6/5/08

Dr. Howard Sandler
Dr. Howard Sandler consults on a patient receiving radiation therapy. Proton beam therapy is an innovative form of radiation treatment with potential to cause fewer side effects than traditional radiation.

Meet the Expert: Theodore Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D.

Learn more: Michigan Proton Therapy Consortium

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Ann Arbor - Six Michigan health care systems have met a June 5 deadline set by the state's Certificate of Need commission, by submitting a letter indicating that they have committed to a consortium approach to bring proton beam therapy to the state.

The six are among the state's largest health systems, and include the state's only two National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers.

The letter to the CON commission, required to ensure the consortium effort is moving forward, affirmed that these six health systems have agreed to participate in the collaborative and contribute their share of the start-up costs.

The consortium was formed to mitigate the costs of proton beam therapy - starting with the $160 million needed to build a treatment center. At the same time, a consortium will provide greater economic benefit to Michigan than a single hospital provider, since it will spread an economic benefit across a wide array of providers and communities.

In addition, a consortium ensures the state will have one proton beam center operating at high efficiency, versus multiple centers each operating at low volumes, risking financial and operational viability. One high- efficiency center will also allow providers to gain greater expertise at delivering this technology safely and effectively.

"Working together will ensure health care costs are carefully managed. The state of Michigan and its citizens can't afford to have individual institutions developing their own proton beam programs. The collaborative will ensure appropriate utilization and cost-management," says Robert P. Kelch, M.D., executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Michigan and chief executive officer of the U-M Health System, which is part of the consortium.

Proton beam therapy is a type of radiation that is based on high-energy particles called protons, whereas current radiation therapy uses photons, or X-rays. Proton beam therapy appears to be most promising for treating pediatric cancers and certain rare tumors in adults, but more research is needed to fully understand the potential of this treatment. The consortium approach will include a research component to help define which patients will benefit from proton technology.

The consortium will next develop a business plan, which must be submitted to the CON commission by Sept. 6.

The six health systems that have agreed to the collaborative to date are:

All high-volume hospital-based providers of radiation therapy services in the state have been invited to join the consortium, and other providers will be invited per state regulations. This will ensure the greatest possible access to care for the most people in the state who are in need of proton beam therapy.

The consortium approach is supported by a large number of providers, purchasers and employers, as well as by the Economic Alliance of Michigan, the Michigan Manufacturers Association and the Small Business Association of Michigan.

For more information about Michigan's proton beam consortium, visit www.protontherapyformichigan.org.

Written by Nicole Fawcett


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Please note: The articles listed in the Cancer Center's News Archive are here for historical purposes. The information and links may no longer be up-to-date.
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