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January 06, 2012

Mayo Clinic responds to NYT proton editorial

In today's Post-Bulletin, Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy responds to a New York Times editorial that used Mayo's $180 million proton beam center project as example of why health care costs are so high.

Here's a pic of the Rochester proton beam construction site today plus a timelapse vid of the work so far.

An op-ed article in the Jan. 3 New York Times questions the motives and consequences of Mayo Clinic’s decision to open two proton beam therapy facilities for the advanced treatment of certain cancers. In a piece titled “It Costs More, But Is It Worth More?” the authors suggest that proton beam therapy is of unproven value and that the programs were initiated to generate revenue.  
Mayo Clinic takes serious issue with the authors’ use of Mayo Clinic and its programs in this manner. As a not-for-profit institution, we are motivated by the best interests of our patients, not “profit” or competitiveness.
With the facility costs, start-up expenses and the extensive training required to offer this therapy, we do not expect to break even, much less earn a “profit,” on our proton therapy program for years. On the contrary, we chose to make this investment to ensure that our patients have access to proven, effective, safe treatment for serious illnesses.


Here's a bit from the NYT's opinion piece that he is responding to:

  If you want to know what is wrong with American health care today, exhibit A might be the two new proton beam treatment facilities the Mayo Clinic has begun building, one in Minnesota, the other in Arizona, at a cost of more than $180 million dollars each. They are part of a medical arms race for proton beam machines, which could cost taxpayers billions of dollars for a treatment that, in many cases, appears to be no better than cheaper alternatives. --------

So why is the venerable Mayo Clinic building two proton beam facilities? Because it’s competing against Massachusetts General Hospital, M. D. Anderson in Texas, the University of Pennsylvania, Loma Linda in California — all of which have one. With Medicare reimbursement so generous, and patients and doctors eager for the latest technology, building new machines is sane, profitable business for hospitals like Mayo.

But it is crazy medicine and unsustainable public policy.


Will the NYT print Mayo's rebuttal?

Wouldn't the lack of necessary travel that people would have to do (either to each coast or to the south) actually help lessen the cost to Medicare?

The best part about that piece is that the two authors are from two hospitals that were cited as already having proton beams.

Jason's Storm, are you saying medicare reimburses the patient for the "cost of travel" to get this test?

From what I understand about 0bama NIH adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, he is a proponent of health care rationing. His scholarship history shows him to favor a scarcity of lifesaving resources....especially when/if the government is paying for that health care/procedure.

atilla, leads in with a good question, then goes off the rail about stuff, as long as it has "Obama," and his delusional "theories".

Your response appears to be telling us you believe medicare/the government is (or should be) paying said "travel expenses"..

"off the rail" is Atilla's default position on everything.

Really Atilla? As a conservative and no Obama fan myself, even I find you trying to link him to everything tiresome. Stick to the topic of the article, or please just keep quiet.

"Stick to the topic of the article, or please just keep quiet."
I am sure you also intended that comment for Jason's Storm did you not?

Atilla, you are right in one sense about Jason not being on topic, but he did it with the intention of an honest comment on the article. Whilst you, on almost every article that I have seen you comment on, take leaps and bounds of the imagination to reach your farcical conclusions that somehow President Obama must be to blame. Cut the nonsense please. It is seriously people like you that muddy up the discourse in this country and make conservatives look like we belong on the funny farm.

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