Holiday Open House at Provision Center for Proton Therapy

Posted by on Friday, November 29th, 2013

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A Family Christmas at Dowell Springs
December 4 at 6 p.m. (FREE)
Provision Center for Proton Therapy
6450 Provision Cares Way
Knoxville, TN  37909

The Provision Center for Proton Therapy invites you and your family to a very special holiday open house at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4.  Enjoy a wonderful family Christmas experience on the beautiful Dowell Springs campus, located just off Middlebrook Pike in Knoxville.  Nestled in a cozy fireplace setting, decorated for the holidays with seasonal refreshments and spirit-filled performances by the Concord Christian School Elementary & Middle Ensembles and Halls High School Madrigals.  Surprise celebrity guests will highlight the evening, including Sevier County artist Robert Tino who will unveil a one-of-a-kind painting that was commissioned just for the proton center.  Bring your camera for family photos with Santa and go on a tour of the facility to view the most technologically advanced cancer treatment equipment in the world.  For more information call 865-684-2616.

 

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Amy Grant and Scott Hamilton Are Coming to Knoxville!

Posted by on Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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We are so honored to announce our very unique and exciting inaugural event – a first for Knoxville – that will serve as the kickoff and introduction of the Provision Healthcare Foundation. “Scott Hamilton and Friends on Ice” featuring musical guest Amy Grant, will take place on Friday, December 6 at 6 p.m. at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. This magnificent figure skating performance, featuring 13 Olympic and World champion skaters, to a live concert by Amy Grant is truly a one-of-a-kind production that our community has never experienced. The legendary Amy Grant is a six-time Grammy ® winner with a career spanning more than 25 years and stretches from her roots in gospel into an iconic pop star, songwriter, television personality, and philanthropist. Grant has sold more than 30 million album, has six #1 hits, including “Baby, Baby,” and “Every Heartbeat” and is one of only two Christian artists to be awarded a star on the legendary Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

All proceeds will benefit the Provision Healthcare Foundation supporting cancer education and wellness, clinical and biomedical research and patient assistance.  Please visit www.KnoxvilleColiseum.com to purchase tickets.  Visit www.ProvisionCares.org to see how the Ptovision Healthcare Foundation is helping cancer patients in our community.

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Building Awareness about Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Posted by on Friday, November 15th, 2013

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When the Provision Center for Proton Therapy set out to make the East Tennessee community aware of the newest treatment for prostate cancer, we had a challenge.  The marketing team knew that most people had no idea what proton therapy was or how it was used.  We also knew that we needed to get their attention.

We put our heads together and started working on some concepts that would break through the standard medical advertising.  During one of these brainstorming sessions we thought back to a speaker at a Washington D.C. conference.  The speaker was Robert J. Marckini, a former proton therapy patient for prostate cancer.  Bob is the author of “You Can Beat Prostate Cancer – And You Don’t Need Surgery To Do It.”  During his speech, he made a statement that one of the most important reasons he chose proton therapy, was that “proton therapy was the only cancer treatment with a fan club.”  This statement became the inspiration for the awareness campaign.

From this idea, we decided to meet with some former proton therapy patients and get their thoughts.  They not only loved the idea, but most of them wanted to be part of the making of the TV commercial.  We thought a concept of football fans would be a great way to introduce the campaign to the public.  But we needed to make this message stand out.  Then we hit on the idea of painting the guy’s chests with the letters P.R.O.T.O.N.S.  This seemed to tell the story in a short and impactful way.  These were true fans.  To our surprise, the former prostate patients were excited about the concept and could not wait to get the commercial started.

On a very hot summer Saturday, we gathered our Proton Guys and a group of volunteers and produced what you see today as the ProtonGuys.com commercial.  It was a very long day for most of us, but it was grueling for the Proton Guys.  They stuck in there and we actually finished the shoot early.  It was a tremendously fun day for a very good cause.  Not only are we happy with the result, we are thrilled these men had the opportunity to tell their story to the many men suffering with prostate cancer.  The message is clear, proton therapy is a great treatment option for men with prostate cancer and getting a second opinion is important to you and your life after treatment.

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East Tennessee Military Veterans Tour Provision Center for Proton Therapy

Posted by on Monday, November 11th, 2013

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The East Tennessee Military Veterans and Spouses recently toured the Provision Center for Proton Therapy.  On behalf of everyone at Provision, we send our sincerest thanks to men and women everywhere who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.  To those who have served and continue to serve, to those who have lost their lives for our country, we can’t ever say thank you enough.

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What Does Proton Therapy Cost?

Posted by on Friday, November 8th, 2013

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The cost for proton therapy varies depending upon the treating facility, the payer, and the prescribed course of treatment.  Payers can be divided into two categories:  government payers and non-government payers.

Government Payers

The largest government payer is Medicare. About half of patients at a typical proton center will have Medicare or some type of Medicare product.  Proton centers can fall under one of two categories with Medicare: hospital based or free standing.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a government agency, releases a national fee schedule each year that applies to all hospital based proton centers.  In 2013 Medicare is paying about $1,110 per day of treatment for most treatments at these facilities.

For free standing proton centers the local Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) sets the payment fee schedule. Each state has a MAC that administers coverage and payment on behalf of CMS.  These rates vary depending upon MAC and location. The MACs use Geographic Cost Pricing Index (GPCI) adjustments to help determine appropriate payment levels.  The easiest way to think about this is that it is a cost of doing business adjustment.  So a center in New Jersey would likely get paid more by their Medicare MAC than a center in Tennessee.  Other government payers include TriCare, Medicaid, and the VA.

Non-Government Payers

This category includes commercial insurance companies as well as patients paying cash out of pocket.  There are hundreds of commercial insurance companies all over the country.  The largest insurance companies, in order, are Unitedhealth Group, Wellpoint, Kaiser Foundation Group, Aetna, and Humana.  The largest insurance network is Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  Each of these payers will make an individual determination on what types of cancer they will pay to have treated with proton therapy.  They will also negotiate rates with individual centers for these treatments.

Commercial insurance companies will pay based on one of four methods:

  1. “case rate” – this is a flat rate for treatment of a disease site regardless of how many daily treatments are delivered
  2. “percent of charges” – this is a percentage of the charges billed out by the proton center
  3. “percent of Medicare” – this is a percentage of the Medicare fee schedule
  4. “fee schedule” – this is a schedule assigning a payment rate for each type of service

Conclusion

So all of this is to say that there really is no one answer to the question “how much is proton therapy?”  It is sometimes more expensive than conventional radiation therapy, but there are times when it is equal to or less than conventional radiation therapy.  It is our goal at Provision to continue to work to bring down the costs of treatment and to expand the types of disease sites that are covered by insurance companies.

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How Does Proton Therapy Differ From Traditional Radiation Therapy?

Posted by on Friday, November 1st, 2013


Unlike proton therapy, conventional radiation therapy uses x-rays which enter and exits the body, potentially causing damage to the healthy tissue that surrounds the tumor being treated. However, at the Provision Center for Proton Therapy, our pencil beam scanning capabilities allow our oncologists to target treatment to a specific area, giving a high-energy dose of protons that enter the tumor with accuracy and stop in their tracks, limiting collateral damage to healthy tissues. As a result, the important organs and tissues surrounding the cancer are better protected from unnecessary radiation, thus minimizing or completely avoiding treatment induced side effects, such as nerve damage with resulting neurologic disfunction, as well as avoiding other complications such as breathing difficulties, nausea, impotence, secondary cancers and others.

Both standard X-rays/conventional radiation therapy and proton therapy attack tumors by preventing cancer cells from dividing and growing. The difference between the two therapies is that protons can precisely target the tumor, allowing patients to receive higher, more effective doses, and reducing damage to healthy tissue near the tumor. The chart below shows how protons eliminate radiation to the brain stem and X-rays do not.

Although it is similar to conventional radiation therapy, protons are more precise, the proton beam is fine-tuned with millimeters of accuracy to deliver maximum energy within a controlled range of the tumor. Proton treatment can also be combined with radiation, chemotherapy and biological treatments, depending on the cancer type to provide better outcomes and less tissue damage. Also, Proton treament greatly improves pediatric outcomes.

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