Data backs up anecdotal evidence

By | Cancer, Clinical Care, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, research, Scott Warwick, side effects, surgery, Survivors, Uncategorized | No Comments

A recently released national survey reported that men treated for prostate cancer who received proton therapy experienced significantly better quality of life during and after treatment than those treated with surgery or traditional x-ray therapy. The survey carried out via phone and online, by Bryant Research profiled 755 men, ages 50-75, who were surveyed at least 12 months after treatment.

Patients who received proton therapy were significantly more likely than those who received brachytherapy, surgery or traditional x-ray therapy to report treatment did not interfere with sexual function. They also described feeling better during treatment and better outcomes with respect to urinary function, bowel function, digestive function and the ability to stay active. Read More

Provision Healthcare Announces National Survey Results

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Provision Healthcare Announces National Survey Results
Men treated for prostate cancer using proton therapy reported significantly better quality of life than other therapy options

Knoxville, TN (September 27, 2016)— A national survey released today reported that men treated for prostate cancer who received proton therapy reported significantly better quality of life during and after treatment than those treated with brachytherapy, surgery or traditional x-ray therapy.  The survey carried out via phone and online, by Bryant Research profiled 755 men, ages 50-75, who were surveyed at least 12 months after treatment.

Patients who received proton therapy reported the best outcomes for overall quality of life, urinary function, digestive function, sexual function, ability to remain active during treatment, and living life the way they wanted to after treatment.  Notably, more than 70% of proton therapy patients reported that treatment did not interfere at all with their overall quality of life.

“These survey results confirm proton therapy’s ability to target radiation to the cancer site without damaging surrounding healthy tissue,” says Scott Warwick, Vice President of Provision Healthcare.  “With proton therapy, patients feel better during treatment and have a better quality of life afterward.”

Other notable results included:

  • The proportion of proton therapy patients reporting that their treatment had no impact on their sexual function was almost double that of the next best scoring treatment in this survey.
  • Ninety-seven (97%) percent of proton therapy patients said they would recommend their treatment to other men with prostate cancer, significantly higher than the other treatment options.
  • Ninety-seven (97%) percent of proton therapy patients said they would select this same treatment option should they have to make the decision today compared to brachytherapy (68%), conventional radiation therapy (66%), and surgery (58%) patients.

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses a beam of high-energy protons to treat various forms of cancer.  Unlike conventional radiation therapy, in which x-ray beams deposit most of their energy into the healthy tissue prior to entry and upon exit of the tumor site, the protons can be better controlled, allowing most of the energy to be deposited directly into the tumor and thus reducing damage to nearby healthy tissue.

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About Provision Healthcare, LLC

Provision Healthcare, LLC, (Provision) was formed in 2005 with the purpose of developing innovative healthcare solutions focused on improving patient care and clinical outcomes and developing support for research, educational, and charitable causes. Provision has developed a unique, comprehensive expertise in proton therapy that distinguishes it from other equipment suppliers and proton and cancer center developers and operators that have a much narrower focus. The combination of a unique expertise and innovative, entrepreneurial approach continues to propel Provision towards a position of industry leadership with respect to both cancer care and proton therapy.

Contact

Nancy Howard
nancy.howard@provisionproton.com
(865) 603-0865

Provision heads to ASTRO

By | Cancer, Culture of Care, Events, Innovation, Orlando, Patient Experience, ProNova, Prostate Cancer, Scott Hamilton, Tennessee, Terry Douglass, Uncategorized | No Comments

At the premiere conference for radiation oncology, Provision will unveil plans and a progress report for expansion and release results of a patient survey that confirms proton therapy’s benefit for cancer patients.

The annual meeting for the American Society for Radiation Oncology, or ASTRO, begins Sunday in Boston. The conference attracts more than 10,000 attendees from the radiation oncology community—from physicians to instrument makers. Provision Healthcare is an event sponsor and be at the trade show – Booth #12091. Read More

Eating clean 101

By | Cancer, Exercise & Nutrition, Patient Experience, Provision Health and Performance, Survivors, Uncategorized | No Comments

Are you eating clean? What does that mean? Does it mean you’ve washed your food or your hands? Bought organic or grass-fed? Why is it important?

Here’s the truth: Clean eating is the concept of eating whole unprocessed foods, the way nature delivers them. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s being mindful of food and how it’s prepared one meal at a time.  Read More

Eddie Check brings PSA tests to East Tennessee

By | Events, Prostate Cancer, Provision CARES, Uncategorized | No Comments

Erven Williams spent his career at TVA as a systems engineer in in dam safety and water management. If he hadn’t committed to early screening for prostate cancer, he might not be enjoying retirement now.

Williams, who is black, lost both his father and grandfather to prostate cancer. He says, “It is so important that males do get a PSA checkup because the earlier you catch it, the better your chances are of being cured. And for African-Americans it’s even more important. It affects us more; it’s more aggressive.”

For 12 years now, Eddie Check has been giving men in East Tennessee the opportunity to take control of their prostate health … for free.  Read More

traveling from tupelo to knoxville for proton therapy

Tupelo patients “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with proton therapy

By | Clinical Care, Culture of Care, East Tennessee, Knoxville, Patient Experience, Patient Hospitality, Patient Stories, Prostate Cancer, Proton Ambassadors, Proton Therapy, Scott Hamilton, side effects, surgery, Survivors, Tennessee, Uncategorized | No Comments

Tupelo knows all about fans. There are 85,000 people who visit the small, Mississippi town each year to see where the “King of Rock ‘n Roll,” Elvis Presley, was born.

But Tupelo is home to another fan base too. A growing number of local residents are making the journey to Provision Center for Proton Therapy and spreading the word.

And it all started with Elvis. Read More

A call for change in proton therapy coverage

MD Anderson pleads necessity of protons

By | Cancer, Insurance Coverage, research, side effects, Survivors, Uncategorized | No Comments

Insurance companies may not consider proton therapy a “medical necessity,” but a growing body of medical evidence and doctors opinions disagrees.

In a cover column featured in The American Journal of Managed Care, Dr. Steven Frank, medical director of the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, makes the case that it’s past time for insurance companies to include protons as an accepted, and covered, treatment for a variety of cancers.

Citing the many patients who are denied proton therapy by companies who deem it not “medically necessary” and “experimental”—or simply dismiss the claim without explanation—Frank argues that the term, “medical necessity” should be standardized rather than left to the subjective whims of business-oriented institutions.

“Why should insurance companies—whose financial incentives direct them toward cost savings—be dictating what is medically necessary for cancer treatment?” he writes. “Physicians have experienced inconsistency in the labeling of ‘medically necessary procedures for years. … In a study recently published in the International Journal of Particle Therapy, we found that insurance coverage of proton beam therapy in the State of Texas varied not only among payers, but also for the type of cancer.

“Even more concerning, a previous decision to cover proton therapy for prostate cancer was reversed and proton therapy was determined to be “not medically necessary” after the removal of key published references from the payer’s updated medical policy.”

Research is also showing that proton therapy can actually result in decreased overall medical costs for cancer patients, Frank writes.

“The episodic cost of care can be reduced when proton therapy decreases the amount of radiation to parts of the body that are not affected by the cancer by eliminating or reducing the severity of treatment-induced acute and long-term side effects and by reducing the risk of secondary cancers.

“One such study showed that hospital stays were longer for patients with esophageal cancer treated with older techniques (mean length of stay 13.2 days after conventional 3-dimensional radiation therapy, 11.6 days for intensity-modulated radiation therapy, and 9.3 days for proton therapy). Using advanced radiation therapy technologies like proton therapy can reduce postoperative complications and shorten hospital stays, which reduces healthcare costs.”

There are steps being taken toward broader insurance coverage for proton therapy. University of Texas System’s employees are participating in a one-year pilot program with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (HCSC) and MD Anderson allowing proton therapy coverage for cancers of the head & neck, esophagus, breast, and lung as well as patients participating in proton therapy clinical trials. Information will be collected and shared about proton therapy and its costs, which will help to make the case that broader coverage should be extended to other states and healthcare systems.

“We need insurers across the country to think innovatively and provide leadership similar to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas by partnering with employers and providers to find ways to provide broader coverage for patients that will benefit from proton therapy, “  says Scott Warwick, Chairman of the National Association for Proton Therapy.  

Proton therapy has been proven an effective and, in many cases, cost effective treatment option. It’s time for all of those involved in providing patient care acknowledge that reality, Frank concludes.

“Cancer touches thousands of lives each year in a truly indiscriminate way. However, we should not be arbitrary in the way we combat the disease and define medical necessity. If we wish to defeat cancer once and for all, all parties—both doctors and insurers—must finally unite in support of best practices such as proton therapy. Let’s start now and be advocates for all patients with cancer.”

Brazilian tackles Olympic-sized feat of his own in cancer

By | Brain cancer, Cancer, Culture of Care, Dr. Marcio Fagundes, Patient Hospitality, Pediatric Cancer, Proton Therapy, surgery, Uncategorized | No Comments

As his home country has hosted the world’s largest sporting spectacle, Bruno Faria found himself watching the games, not in nearby stadium but in another continent in a different hemisphere, facing an Olympic-sized feat of his own.

Nine years ago, just one month after Faria’s 18th birthday, he discovered the cause of nagging headaches that ultimately could not be ignored. Cancer.

The malignant tumor originated in his skull bone, and since diagnosis Faria has endured eight surgeries, two rounds of chemotherapy and one regimen of conventional radiation in Brazil. The first tumor was located behind his eye, he says, but the growths have recurred, moving their way back along the right side of his head.

Read More

Patients & providers must team for insurance fight

By | Insurance Coverage, Patient Rights, Uncategorized | No Comments

Qualifying for proton therapy is one thing. Paying for it can be another.

Although Medicare covers proton therapy for seniors with cancer and most private policies provide coverage for children, patients who fall in between can have difficulty getting payment from their private insurers.

There are things that patients can do to help. All incoming patients to Provision Center for Proton Therapy receive a fact sheet (click here to download fact sheet) to give them tools to fight for coverage of proton therapy—for themselves and for others.

 

“We believe it’s important for patients to be empowered to fight for the coverage they deserve when facing a cancer diagnosis,” says Rhonda Turner, manager of financial services at Provision Center for Proton Therapy. “We know that we won’t always win every case, but together we can improve our chances for success.”

Here’s what financial services does to assist in the insurance process:

  1. Letter of medical necessity and/or recommendation fo treatment choice from other provider(s)
  2. Peer-to-peer review calls
  3. Individualize appeals
  4. Multiple levels of appeals, including external reviews
  5. Assist with patient appeal/grievance

Here’s what patients can do to help:

  1. File a patient grievance letter (supported by Provision staff)
  2. Conference call with us and your insurer
  3. Contact your employer—some employers can override insurance coverage decision

Provision patients can also help in the fight for others, writing letters to insurance providers, sharing their stories on social media and contacting elected officials.

“Public pressure is the best way to ensure coverage of proton therapy in the future,” Turner says. “Nobody can communicate the need for proton therapy better than those who are being denied access to it.”

Throat cancer patient high on proton therapy

By | Cancer, Clinical Care, Culture of Care, Dr. Allen Meek, Head and neck cancer, Insurance Coverage, Knoxville, Proton Therapy, Scott Hamilton, Survivors, Tennessee, Uncategorized | No Comments

When Terry Vinson first felt a small grown the size of a pinkie fingertip on his neck, he dismissed it as a harmless cyst.

Even two weeks later, when it had doubled into the size of a thumb and then doubled again the following week, he had not yet sought medical help.

“I’m in medical sales,” Vinson says. “I should have known better.” Read More