The Federal Government mandates that all hospitals post on their website their charges for care. While it is difficult to navigate this information for patients, it is safe to say that Precision Cancer Care, because it is a freestanding physician owned facility and not hospital based, results in a decreased expense for patients on the order of 30-40%. This means the exact same level of care is provided to patients for a 30-40% savings. For patients who have a deductible, this can result in savings of thousands of dollars by coming to any one of the three Precision Cancer Care locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute. It is well established and can be validated by patients when they go for consultations, the cost of their care is significantly diminished at our facilities compared to hospital-based radiation oncology facilities and without any sacrifice in quality of services.
We encourage you to come here for a second opinion and compare the cost of care and the compassionate staff who will be providing it with those of centers in Kansas City. Just to be clear, the Federal Government, Medicare rules allow hospitals like the University of Kansas and Shawnee Mission Medical Center to charge 30-50% more for the exact services that we provide at Precision Cancer Care. We know they can and we know they will.
Patients frequently come to our center excited to receive state-of-the-art cancer treatment services, which may be less than a few miles from their home. Unfortunately, family members or friends will urge them to the point of guilt creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt in their decision to get care locally so that they will go to Kansas City to providers such as KU with the false promise of receiving better care. The reality is all board certified physicians are treating with the same techniques, the same medical standards of care, and equal experience levels and knowledge.
The equipment in Lawrence is state-of-the-art and is identical to the same treatment machines utilized in the Kansas City area. Specifically, our linear accelerators provide intensity modulated radiation therapy with image guidance and can treat patients with stereotactic radiosurgery. While these machines go by various names such as TrueBeam, CyberKnife, Gamma Knife, the end result and the treatment plan developed by the physician and his team of specialists, including the medical physicist, are virtually identical. A friend or family member may have had a good experience at KU Medical Center and so they urge patients to go through, which ultimately results in hardship through time, cost, and effort utilizing precious time and energy to get care that is equivalent. Dr. Slane and I both trained at NCI designated cancer centers; Dr. Slane at the University of Arizona, myself at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
I love seeing patients back after they have gone to KU for a second opinion, and they are thrilled by the convenience of our facility, the quality of our care, the friendliness of our staff, and the assurance and knowledge that our cure rates are equal to anyone in Kansas City. There is evidence that when patients have to travel longer distances for their care, their outcomes are inferior.
I was very proud of my alma mater this summer. The National Cancer Center designation for the KU Cancer Center recognizes what Kansans have known for some time. There’s great medical care locally. Yes, cancer patients have been traveling to St. Louis, Iowa, Denver and really all over the country seeking treatment in new trials, but there’s now third-party validation that for more than a decade, Kansans have had high-quality cancer treatment.
The designation is expected to bring new opportunities for patients fighting cancer. The designation means more research trials on treatments and new interest from pharmaceutical companies testing new medications.
I have had a few people ask, “What does the designation mean for patients getting treatment in Lawrence?” My response is “It is good news for Kansans and even better news for Lawrence residents”.
The opportunities to participate in research trials for new treatments don’t require patients to drive to Kansas City for radiation therapy. Much like physicians coordinate a patient’s care currently with procedures and treatments conducted at various locations but all the reporting and imaging being shared with the ordering physician, patients will be able to participate in trials and still remain in Lawrence for therapy.
I offer my congratulations to KU Cancer Center on receiving the national designation and showcasing Kansas as a premier cancer treatment provider. I look forward to the opportunities our residents will have and I wish the Cancer Center the best as it strives for the next goal – obtaining comprehensive status.