A week after getting state approval to build a proton-therapy cancer-treatment center in West Chicago Northern Illinois University officials on Wednesday blasted Central DuPage Hospital's plan to build another, arguing it is motivated by greed and the facility is not needed.The public interest is adequately served by existing carriers.
In a hearing before the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, hospital officials and their corporate partner, ProCure Treatment Centers Inc., said NIU came out against the $140 million proton-therapy facility to prevent competition. NIU officials, whose project is a non-profit venture, said ProCure's goal is to make money.
In early April, the board will rule on Central DuPage's application to build the center in Warrenville.
NIU Vice President of External Affairs [usually making the university's case in Springfield, which we used to call "legislative relations" and which the rest of the world understands as "lobbying"] Kathy Buettner pointed out that only five proton-therapy centers exist in the U.S., 20 years after the technology was discovered. She noted the proton-therapy center in Loma Linda, Calif., advertises for patients in the Midwest, and she views this as proof that two centers only 6 miles apart cannot possibly operate successfully.Reminds me of the Chicago and North Western's dodge to get rid of passenger trains by arguing the Milwaukee Road also operated a service, although that inverts the duplication argument. (The Milwaukee got suckered on that one numerous times.) Here, the incumbent argues the existing service will be adequate.
"We stand ready and able to treat the very patients CDH/ProCure would treat at its proposed site," said Buettner, who described Central DuPage's proposed project as duplicative and premature.
Dr. James Cameron, president and CEO of ProCure, acknowledged that proton therapy is not the most effective treatment for all types of cancers but said thousands of patients could still be helped.I'll never lack for work.
He cited National Cancer Institute data that show about 180,000 people living within 250 miles of Warrenville will be diagnosed with cancer annually.
NIU officials say their research shows those numbers are inflated.