MI sets strict limits on building costly cancer centers

Working to avoid a costly healthcare "arms race," a commission in Michigan has ruled that it will allow the construction of only one costly proton beam therapy center for cancer treatment. It's ordering the state's hospitals collaborate on a single center, rather than attempting to each raise the $100 million or more needed to build proton beam centers, the newest form of radiation treatment for cancer. Proton therapy, which uses nuclear particle accelerators to deliver radiation, are more precise than X-rays, but critics say that their advantage over X-rays hasn't yet been proved. Some observers suggest that hospitals are opting to build them largely because such a center adds to their prestige.

Prior to the announcement, Michigan healthcare system Beaumont Hospitals had planned to build its own $159 million proton therapy center in collaboration with ProCure Treatment Centers. After the announcement by Beaumont, other hospitals submitted their own proposals for such a center. Now, they'll have to work together. The commission is demanding a business plan from at least five hospitals, which would have to contribute a collective $13 million.

To learn more about Michigan's plans:
- read this article from The New York Times

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