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2003 Press Releases

York County Cancer Care Center Receives Certificate of Need Approval

Wayne L. Clark
Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing
Maine Medical Center
(207) 662-2196

AUGUSTA — Kevin W. Concannon, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, announced today that the York County Cancer Care Center, a proposal for a comprehensive cancer treatment facility submitted by the Southern Maine Medical Center and the Maine Medical Center, has received Certificate of Need approval.

"This is a profoundly important decision affecting the lives and families of the nearly 900 residents of York County who are diagnosed with cancer each year," noted Commissioner Concannon, "as well as thousands of other York County Residents who have previously been diagnosed with cancer. After a thorough and careful review of the public record in this matter, I have decided to grant a Certificate of Need authorizing the Southern Maine Medical Center and Maine Medical Center to construct a Cancer Care Center to be located in the town of Wells."

This Certificate of Need was issued subject to a number of conditions. In particular, the York County Cancer Care Center must allow all licensed physicians to refer patients to the program, regardless of the hospital or system affiliation of that physician; they must allow all qualified medical oncologists, regardless of current hospital affiliation, to lease space and practice at the Cancer Care Center; and they must allow all qualified radiation oncologists choosing to practice at the Center to seek credentialing criteria regardless of their affiliation with other hospitals and facilities.

"I made my decision," stated Commissioner Concannon, "on the basis of which competing cancer care proposal would most likely guarantee the best quality and the fullest, most unfettered access to all qualified physicians and oncologists. This gives all York County residents the complete choice of care by the physician or oncologist of their choosing, and at a location close to home."

"Cancer care has changed dramatically in the past several decades," Commissioner Concannon further observed. "The course of treatment invariably calls for multiple visits to a cancer care center so it is vital that patients have excellent access to the facility. This proposal will give the citizens of York County that access."

Commissioner Concannon also highlighted the four compelling reasons for awarding the CON to the proposal submitted by Southern Maine Medical Center and Maine Medical Center (SMMC/MMC).

First, the SMMC/MMC proposal would allow any qualified physician, medical or radiation oncologist to practice or refer patients to the center, thereby providing access for all York County patients and their physicians, regardless of which hospital system they wish to be treated by.

Second, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer has accredited both Maine Medical Center and Southern Maine Medical Center as multi disciplinary cancer programs. Maine Medical Center is also approved as a teaching hospital cancer program. This is superior to the York County Collaborative, where only one of the three hospitals, Wentworth-Douglas hospital, is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

Third, the SMMC/MMC proposal will provide more comprehensive cancer treatment services than the York County Collaborative proposal. Specifically, the SMMC/MMC proposal will provide simulator and 3-D dimensional and intensity modulated radiation therapy services at the facility. Conversely, the York County Collaborative will not provide simulation services on site. These services will be provided in Dover, New Hampshire for an unknown period of time.

Fourth, both SMMC and MMC are licensed by the state of Maine with no deficiencies. In contrast, only York Hospital is licensed by the state of Maine with no deficiencies. H. D. Goodall Hospital is operating under a conditional license and Wentworth-Douglas is located in New Hampshire, and therefore, not subject to licensing by the state of Maine.

Commissioner Concannon pointed out that he reached a decision different from that of the CON Advisory Committee because it appears that the committee incorrectly relied on the offer of free transportation that was part of the York County Radiation Therapy Collaborative, as well as the potential local care and control that was associated with this proposal. In addition, the CON Advisory Committee did not place sufficient importance on the issue of accreditation of the applicants in making its decision.

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