Tag Archives: therapy

Senator’s Concerns Helped Sink UT’s Plan for $98M Investment

The University of Tennessee may have abandoned tens of millions of dollars over the next decade from a proposed partnership that it is no longer pursuing with a proton therapy center in West Knoxville because of legislative and financial challenges associated with it, reports the News Sentinel.
The proposal, which was strongly backed by key university officials, called for using the additional revenues generated to fund new academic and research programs and facilities that were considered a step toward becoming a top 25 public research institution, according to documents obtained by the News Sentinel through a public records request.
The university dropped its legislative efforts in March, a month after a bill was filed by Sens. Randy McNally and Doug Overbey, ending a two-year effort to affiliate itself with Provision Center for Proton Therapy, much like how the University of Florida has partnered with a proton therapy center in Jacksonville, Fla. (Note: The legislature’s website shows Overbey as prime sponsor of the bill, SB1194, with Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, as House sponsor. It has not been withdrawn, the website shows, but was never moved in the Senate and taken off notice in the House.)
… While the university was projected to receive a minimum total financial benefit of $80 million in 2023 that could reach more than $180 million, questions were raised about the financial risk to the university, and ultimately to the state of Tennessee, as well as uncertainty about lower reimbursement rates and effectiveness of the treatment.
Among those with concerns were McNally — chairman of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee — and local health care officials.
“Even if it benefited the university, there were philosophical differences,” UT President Joe DiPietro said in an interview, noting that various people were sympathetic to McNally’s concern about using taxpayer dollars to benefit a private enterprise.
McNally worried the public-private partnership would put the university and state at too great of a risk and potentially compete with local health care providers. It also would set a precedent for other schools, while allowing the center to cherry pick the best patients with private insurance.
“I might be pessimistic when it comes to those projects, but the state would have taken a lot of risk through the university. We found that out with Hemlock. It has not performed like it had promised,” McNally said in an interview, referring to Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville that received some $130 million in state and local incentives and announced last month plans to lay off 300 of its 400 workers and shut down its facility.
“I can’t say that I’m right on this, but I felt it was a risk to the state that it didn’t need to be taking,” he added. “I couldn’t tell you with everything the return would justify the risk. It was something new the state hadn’t gotten into and would open itself up for others.”
Proton therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses a beam of protons to more precisely irradiate tumors without harming surrounding tissue and reducing treatment-related side effects. Local businessman Terry Douglass has spearheaded the development of the proton therapy center currently under construction in Dowell Springs as part of a comprehensive clinical outpatient health care center.
… DiPietro said in the interview that McNally wasn’t the only person to express concern over the proposal, though he declined to say who the others were.
Douglass conveyed his frustration over the lack of progress to university officials in December, questioning why McNally’s “nonissues” took precedence over the benefits of the legislation.
“Why is it that one or two individuals can defeat something that is potentially so good for UT, our community and our state?” Douglass wrote in an email to DiPietro, Executive Vice President David Millhorn, lobbyist Anthony Haynes and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek. “I have been around long enough to know that when one door closes a better one opens. I just hate to see this door close for UT.”
… McNally brushed off any notion that he was the reason behind the university’s decision.
“It did concern me, but I’m one of 33 senators. I wouldn’t think that it was anything that I had to do with. I think it was a decision made by the university,” said McNally, who last year sponsored the original bill, which didn’t move forward.
McNally said he didn’t discuss the latest bill with its sponsors or any of his legislative peers, though he did talk with local health care officials, who questioned the university’s role in a business that also provided traditional radiation therapy services.
Covenant Health has been in a dispute with Provision over its radiation therapy center, which received a Certificate of Need in December 2011. Covenant declined to comment for this story, citing its ongoing appeal.
McNally works for Cardinal Health, which runs the pharmacy program at Methodist Medical Center, a Covenant Health hospital. McNally’s wife, Jan, retired as a Covenant executive in December.

UT Abandons Bill to Invest in Proton Therapy Center

The University of Tennessee said Tuesday it will not pursue legislation that would allow it to become a stakeholder in a Knoxville proton therapy center currently under construction, reports the News Sentinel.
The bill was withdrawn because “it was going to be very cumbersome to gain the needed approvals legislatively,” President Joe DiPietro said.
The university had hoped to get state approval to guarantee up to $98 million of the project’s costs. It would have gained a 30 percent interest in the company in exchange for the development and funding of related academic programs and facilities, including a Joint Institute for Radiological Sciences and Advanced Imaging at Cherokee Farms.
The Provision Center for Proton Therapy is being built in the Dowell Springs Business Park and is a project of the Provision Health Alliance and Terry Douglass, a local businessman and UT alumnus.
“I think there are differences of opinion that we were catching from various people about state taxpayer dollars being utilized to help a private-sector business. One can argue about that I guess if you look at bringing a Nissan or a Wacker (Chemie) or other big companies, but this is a different kind of thing,” he said.
It also might have precluded campuses at Martin or Chattanooga from getting the best interest rate on a note if they wanted to pursue a capital project, DiPietro said.
Bill Hansen, vice president of business and strategic development for Provision Health Partners, expressed disappointment at the decision but acknowledged the bill had “a small but vocal minority opposition from the local health care community and a senior legislator.”
“We continue to believe this bill was good for the University of Tennessee, good for the state of Tennessee and good for the local community,” Hansen said.


Note: This refers to HB918/SB1194. As of Wednesday, the legislative website does not reflect that the bills have been formally withdrawn.

Campfield Suggests Therapy to Critics; Uproar Ensues

State Sen. Stacey Campfield has suggested via email that at least three people who criticized his legislative proposals consider therapy and medication, reports Chas Sisk, and there is a national uproar in the blogosphere as a result.
“You seem to have some serious, deep anger issues,” read the identically-worded messages. “Have you ever thought about therapy? I hear they are doing some wonderful things with medications these days.”
Campfield signed the messages, “Yours in service.”
The response, which may have been sent to many more people who wrote the senator, unleashed a torrent of criticism online Friday.
Several national websites, including TMZ and Hollywood Gossip, published the reply. (Note: TMZ has audio of an interview with Campfield on the matter, HERE) A thread on Reddit, a popular social media site, had drawn more than 60 comments by Friday afternoon.
“I was utterly shocked,” said Telisha Arguelles Cobb, the Berry Hill woman whose letter appeared on Reddit.
Cobb, who used to live in the Knoxville area Campfield now represents, wrote the lawmaker to express her displeasure with his Classroom Protection Act, which would discourage classroom discussions of homosexuality, and his proposal to tie welfare benefits to children’s performance in school.
In her note, which also was published on Reddit, Cobb said Campfield was “an embarrassment to our great state” and added, “You need to search your heart, your values and your Christianity to find a better way to represent us as a whole.”
Campfield wrote back to Cobb and at least two others shortly before 12:45 p.m. Thursday using his legislative iPad. He said he did not know how many people he sent the same reply to, and he declined to discuss how identical wording came to appear in multiple messages.
But he said gay rights activists were trying to intimidate him by sending him rude emails and publicizing his reply.
“I’m not their little piƱata,” Campfield told The Tennessean on Friday. “I’m not going to put up with personal attacks.

Court Order Issued Against Hormone Therapy Operation

News release from state attorney general’s office:
The Court has ordered HRC Medical Centers, Inc. (HRC) to temporarily halt certain claims and contractual practices related to its “bio-identical” hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) known as Amor Vie, Tennessee Attorney Bob Cooper announced today.
The Davidson County Circuit Court order comes after the Attorney General’s Office filed suit on Monday against HRC for allegedly making unsubstantiated health claims and failing to advise consumers of possible risks and side effects associated with HRC’s BHRT Amor Vie.
Also named in the lawsuit are Don Hale, owner and officer of HRC, Dan Hale, former owner and officer of HRC as well as an osteopathic doctor at HRC, and HRC Management Midwest, LLC, which owns an HRC clinic in Memphis. A temporary injunction hearing is set for 1 p.m. on October 19th.
“We are grateful to the court for this action as this concerns the safety and health of many Tennesseans,” Attorney General Cooper said. “We urge Tennesseans who may have used HRC Medical’s BHRT to contact their personal health care providers about any possible adverse effects that may be associated with BHRT.”
HRC consumers should contact this office at 615-741-1671 in order to report any side effects or adverse health effects from BHRT they received at any HRC center in Tennessee. However, the Attorney General’s office cannot provide any health or medical information to individuals.

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