Hospitals in midst of cancer center building boom

An increase in cancer diagnoses and an aging population has generated a boom in hospital construction.

Cleveland Clinic is building a $300 million cancer center that is slated to open in 2017, Kaiser Health News reported. The need is fairly obvious, according to Brian Bolwell, M.D., who heads the Cleveland Clinic's cancer institute.

"In the past five years, volumes go up, depending on location, between 5 and 10 percent a year," he told Kaiser Health News. "And there's no end in sight to that volume of growth."

And that project is just the leading edge of an apparent oncology building boom. Deirdre Fuller of the Advisory Board Co. told Kaiser Health News that her company surveyed members last year and a quarter of them reported that they were either building a cancer center or had constructed one in the past couple of years. "Now that everyone is looking forward and seeing the aging of the baby boomers, it's certainly adding some fuel to that fire," she said.

Cleveland Clinic is certainly not alone. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is building a satellite center in Bergen County, New Jersey, reported. In addition to the growing number of cancer patients, it is also trying to capitalize on the fact that about half of the $90 billion spent on cancer care is for ambulatory services.

However, hospital participation in the cancer business--such as purchasing oncology practices--is also to blame for driving up its costs. In addition, other financial factors, such as hospital facility fees, could drive a wedge between patients and providers if the cost of care becomes too high, even if organizations make accommodations to provide it.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article 
- check out the article