CARTI's New Plan Upsets Decades-long Relationship

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Apr. 30, 2012 12:00 am  

“There are certain types of radiation therapy treatment that are profitable, so I would say it’s one of the areas of medicine that you can stay in the black,” Burford said.

Burford said the treatment of cancer has changed since the 1970s, when hospitals needed to work together to create CARTI. Now it can make economic sense for individual organizations like UAMS and Arkansas Urology to have their own cancer treatment centers.

And now cancer patients can receive their chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the same time, Burford said.

“And cancer care is becoming much more multidisciplinary with surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists needing to collaborate very closely,” Burford said. “It’s kind of the wave of the future to have all the treatments for all the cancer patients as much as possible under one facility.”

She said that’s why CARTI bought Little Rock Hematology Oncology — she wouldn’t reveal the price tag — and decided to build its own center.

Burford said the details of the cancer center are still coming together and scouting for a location for the 60,000-80,000 SF facility in Little Rock continues. The timetable calls for opening in the fall of 2014.

Meanwhile, St. Vincent Health System and Baptist Health still are open to working with CARTI.

“Cancer care should be an area for partnership in our community,” Peter Banko, the CEO of St. Vincent Health System, said in an email to Arkansas Business. “St. Vincent is open to true partnerships with local physicians, UAMS, CARTI, or any organization that shares our vision to develop world class cancer care for the state.”

He said St. Vincent is not planning or considering building its own cancer treatment center.

Baptist Health president and CEO Russ Harrington also said Baptist is committed to CARTI.

“We go way back,” he said. “We have a great relationship, a very cooperative relationship. And we hope that would continue into the future.

“And as far as I know, it probably will,” Harrington said.



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