IU Health to close proton therapy center by 2015

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Indiana University Health will close its proton therapy center once its roster of patients have completed treatment, which is expected no later than the end of this year.

When it opened in 2004, IU Health Proton Therapy Center in Bloomington was the third of its kind in the country. But as newly designed proton therapy centers proliferated across the U.S. in the past 10 years, IU's experienced a declining patient base and revenues.

IU Health said this trend — combined with advancements in cancer treatment, declining reimbursement rates for the proton treatment and aging equipment — made center financially unsustainable. It operated at a $3.5 million deficit in fiscal year 2013.

The proton therapy facility is in combination with the IU Cyclotron, a facility that houses the particle accelerator, which will also close by year's end. The combined facility currently employs approximately 120 people, and the closure will affect about 65 employees at the cyclotron and more than 50 at the proton therapy center.

The proton therapy center is currently treating approximately 30 patients, who will continue to receive proton radiation therapy until their current course of treatments is complete.

The number of proton therapy treatment facilities in the United States has grown to 15, with another 20 in development or planning, according to IU Health.


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