The University of Maryland’s proton center in Baltimore is expected to start treating patients in two years; a proton center at Hampton University in Virginia’s Tidewater area, about 180 miles to the south, opened in 2010.
Sibley’s facility would treat 765 adults and 152 children a year. Among the adult patients would be those with tumors of the brain and spine, lung, head and neck , and to a lesser extent, prostate. One of the four treatment rooms would be used for research and another for children. The structure would take up about 22,000 square feet on Sibley’s campus.
Proton centers in the U.S.
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The charge per treatment is estimated at about $1,500; the total cost for a course of treatment would be about $60,000, hospital officials said. The estimates are based on what other proton centers are using as well as dosages from conventional treatment.
Sibley and Hopkins officials, who say there is enough demand to support two proton centers in the District, estimate that 70 percent of Sibley’s patients would come from within a 100-mile radius, extending into Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as from abroad.
Selassie questioned whether Sibley’s geographically large patient pool would result in the “cherry-picking” of affluent international patients at the expense of D.C. residents. He has also questioned how Sibley, long a community hospital, would be able to conduct research. And he has noted that Sibley does not have a license to provide pediatric services.
Sibley officials said they are committed to caring for District patients. The hospital will be collaborating with Hopkins for clinical care and research; Sibley has also applied for a pediatric license and plans to partner with Children’s National Medical Center, Howard University Hospital and United Medical Center in Southeast, officials said.
As a condition for approval, both hospital systems have agreed to set up a full-time cancer screening and treatment clinic in one of the District’s medically underserved areas.
Cyril Allen, medical director at United Medical Center, supports the Sibley plan, noting at a public hearing that neighborhoods with the highest cancer incidence and death rates, in wards 7 and 8, have not received enough support from other D.C. hospitals.
“We have a chance now to climb out,” he said. “We’re at the table now with Sibley, Howard and Johns Hopkins.”