Year in review 2020 at Provision CARES Proton Therapy

Year in Review: 2020 at Provision CARES Proton Therapy

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Writing a “Year in Review” blog feels a little different in 2020. We typically think back fondly on the year that was; remembering the moments that made it so great. For most of us though, “great” might not be the first word that comes to mind when we think of 2020.

A global pandemic gripped the world and brought with it fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and unfortunately, tragedy. While we can’t ignore the reality of 2020, we can still choose to look beyond the surface of it. We can choose to find the positive, the admirable, and the inspirational.

Here are some of the highlights from 2020 at Provision CARES Proton Therapy. As you close out this tumultuous year, perhaps a reminder of the good that still came out of it will help lead you into 2021 with a sense of hope and optimism.

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Male cancer patient using telehealth

Telehealth can help cancer patients during coronavirus pandemic

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Trying to navigate your cancer care journey is challenging enough without the added stress of a global pandemic.  Normally, you would schedule an in-person consultation with a physician to discuss your treatment options. Understandably though, many cancer patients now have reservations about going out in public during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thankfully, telehealth provides a safe way for someone with cancer to continue moving forward with their care in a timely manner.

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Provision doctor diagnosed with cancer, chooses proton therapy for his own treatment

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This story starts the way a lot of cancer stories start. A visit to the doctor for an unrelated issue. A few tests. And then, while trying to solve one problem, the doctor discovers another – a red flag.

That discovery sparks a journey down a road far too many have traveled. First, more trips to the doctor. Then more tests. And then the waiting. Waiting with fear and uncertainty – hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Until eventually, the wait is over and the news is in…

It’s cancer.

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2019 Year in Review at Provision CARES Proton Therapy

Year in Review: 2019 at Provision CARES Proton Therapy

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Major milestones. Community outreach. Inspirational moments.

Those are some of the recurring themes we noticed as we looked back on the highlights of 2019 at Provision CARES Proton Therapy. It was a year marked by plenty of “firsts,” as well as a concerted effort to be an innovative leader in cancer treatment, and a commitment to our mission of making proton therapy more accessible to patients around the world.

Here are some of Provision’s key moments from 2019.

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Provision Team Members Participate in the National Association of Proton Therapy Convention

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The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) held its seventh annual proton conference March 24-27, 2019, at The Biltmore Miami – Coral Gables, in Miami, Florida.  Founded in 1990, the National Association for Proton Therapy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to work collaboratively to: (i) raise awareness of the therapeutic benefits of proton therapy among patients, providers, payers, policymakers, and other stakeholders, (ii) ensure patient choice and access to affordable proton therapy, and (iii) encourage cooperative research and innovation to advance the appropriate and cost-effective utilization of proton therapy. The annual conference allows proton centers from across the Unites States to convene and discuss how to advance awareness of the clinical benefits of proton therapy for cancer patients, provide education, and advocate for insurance coverage.

This year, almost 300 physicians, nurses, therapists, proton therapy directors, managers and others involved with or interested in learning more about the cutting-edge therapy attended the conference.  The 2019 program covered a variety of interesting and informative topics including: pediatrics, marketing, legislation, insurance and appeals, and clinical updates. Keynote speaker Barbara L. McAneny, MD, President of the American Medical Association, Anne Hubbard, Director of Health Policy for the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and guest speaker Senator Marco Rubio, all described the important role and impact of proton therapy in cancer care and the medical field at large from perspectives beyond those of proton providers. It was encouraging to hear proton therapy is gaining powerful advocacy and allies in positions within the medical field as well as in the upper levels of government.

Provision entities were represented by twelve attendees. Provision representatives participated as presenters and facilitators for several of the conference breakout sessions. Rebecca Bergeron, Dr. Ben Wilkinson, Jenni Turner, Elizabeth Vanzo, Nancy Howard, Niek Schroeder, and Laddie Derenchuk were all members of panel discussions and gave presentations on topics ranging from legislation and technical developments, to clinical best practices, patient interactions, and collaboration. This level of participation by Provision representatives further demonstrates Provision’s place as an industry leader.

In addition to the presentations, discussions, and panels, George Laramore, MD, PhD, FACR, FASTRO, of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy Center and the University of Washington, was awarded the 2019 NAPT Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his decades of pioneering work in the field of particle therapy. In announcing the award, NAPT Executive Director, Scott Warwick, stated “Dr. Laramore has brought honor and distinction to the field of particle therapy and we are grateful for the opportunity to award him for his endless dedication and perseverance to serve cancer patients across the country and the world.”

The NAPT announced that the 2020 National Proton Therapy Conference will be held April 25-29 in Nashville, TN at The Renaissance Hotel. Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville will host a Reception and Tour April 27th.  Nancy Howard, Vice President Marketing & Public Relations of Provision Solutions, will act as the 2020 Conference Chair.

The National Association for Proton Therapy is the voice for the proton community. As there are now 31 Proton centers in operation and 35 centers under construction or in development, it is important for all proton centers to form a strong alliance to advocate for patient access to proton therapy.   NAPT is the vehicle that will lead our alliance forward.

New proton therapy cancer center to open across from Williamson Medical Center

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A cancer treatment center specializing in proton therapy, an increasingly popular treatment, is set to open in the summer of 2018.

Provision Healthcare, a clinical provider and developer of cancer treatments, will open a Provision CARES Cancer Center on Carothers Parkway, across from Williamson Medical Center, said Dr. Terry Douglass, Ph.D., the executive chair of Provision.

Proton therapy, said Douglass, is a form of advanced radiation technology that impairs the DNA of cancer cells and causes them to die.

Unlike traditional radiation methods, a machine called a cyclotron is used to pinpoint cancer cells, targeting diseased cells while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

“It’s like using a rifle compared to a shotgun,” Douglass said of the therapy.

“We developed a new technology that is a lower cost, that uses smaller and lighter technology,” Douglass said of the 200-ton machine which is used to treat cancer.

In traditional chemotherapy or radiation techniques, side effects are common. But with proton therapy, Douglass said side effects are less pronounced; he also said numerous data support the use of proton therapy, including better long-term outcomes for patients.

The treatment is becoming more common for illnesses like prostate cancer, but studies show mixed results, not conclusively supporting the treatment as better than traditional radiation.

Proton therapy centers are popping up across the country. According to the National Association of Proton Therapy, there are currently 26 proton therapy centers in operation with 11 under construction or in development.

The Franklin location will be the company’s second center in Tennessee. The original campus opened in January of 2014 in Knoxville. Planned expansions in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida, are in the works, said Douglass.

Of the decision to be based in Franklin, Douglass said the surrounding health care centers and climate of technological innovation made it a good choice, noting Tennessee Oncology and Vanderbilt as two top-notch cancer treatment centers.

Douglass said the spot on Carothers Parkway, in a central location with easy access to the interstate, would make it easy for patients from Tennessee, as well as Kentucky and Alabama, to reach the center.

“These patients are here from four to eight weeks. They get five treatments Monday through Friday, then they have the weekend off,” he said. “We were looking for a site that would be amenable to the patients.”

“Being near the Williamson County Medical Center was very important to us as well,” he continued. “Franklin has just become a hub of healthcare services.”

In addition to the center, the company will build 72,000 square feet of office space, which Douglass said will house medical companies including Tennessee Oncology and drug discovery and trials for the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center.

Mary Lou DuBois, the president of Provision Health Partners, said the location will open some time this summer, and will hire 75 to 80 employees to staff the center.

“We’re about developing a culture of care that is totally focused on the patient and walking through and with them as they’re on their journey,” she said of center’s mission.

In 2005, Provision Healthcare was founded by Douglass in Knoxville. The organization operates as a for-profit healthcare solutions company, while both the Knoxville and Franklin cancer centers are non-profits.

“New proton therapy cancer center to open across from Williamson Medical Center.” Brooke Wanser, Brentwood HomePage

cyclotron, Provision Healthcare, Franklin

Provision installs cyclotron at Nashville site

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Provision Healthcare in expanding cancer centers and advancing proton therapy to Nashville, TN, with the development of the Provision CARES Cancer Center.

After months of excavating and building construction, The Provision CARES Cancer Center in Franklin, Tenn., welcomed the cyclotron, a key component—and the largest—to the new facility. This brings the center one step closer to treating cancer patients in May 2018. (more…)

Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center Unanimously Approved for Nashville

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Scott Hamilton and Terry Douglass stand in an unfinished proton therapy treatment room in 2013 at Provision Center for Proton Therapy in Knoxville. Douglass and Hamilton are developing the Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Middle Tennessee. Photo by J.Miles Carey/News Sentinel

An application for a certificate of need was approved unanimously (9-0) today by the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency for the development of Tennessee’s third proton therapy cancer treatment center.  Provision Trust, Inc. and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation are planning to develop and operate the first Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in the United States in the city of Franklin in Williamson County.

The $109 million not-for-profit center will be open to all qualified and properly credentialed radiation oncologists, regardless of hospital affiliation, bringing proton therapy to the citizens of Middle Tennessee.  The proton center will be developed on an 11.6-acre vacant lot near Williamson Medical Center and the existing Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Franklin.

Proton Therapy is one of the most advanced treatments available to cancer patients.  Currently, there are only 15 proton therapy centers in the United States. Provision currently owns and operates one of those 14 centers located in Knoxville.  Hamilton serves as a board member of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy.

The addition of the first Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Hamilton’s city of residence is a significant step towards a progressive new vision in cancer advocacy, awareness and treatment. The center will primarily serve 38 Middle Tennessee counties. Its secondary service area extends to West Tennessee and adjoining areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Read the entire news release here.

Read coverage in the Knoxville News Sentinel here. 

Read coverage in The Tennessean here.