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Kansas City Proton Institute – Hospital-Based Vs. Office-Based Proton Therapy

hospital-based vs. office-based proton therapy

Kansas City Proton Institute – Hospital-Based Vs. Office-Based Proton Therapy

If you are a cancer patient and you live in or near the Kansas City area, you have some advantages that many other cancer patients don’t. Not only do you have easy access to the newest kind of radiation treatment for cancer – proton therapy, but you also have a choice. We will compare hospital-based vs. office-based proton therapy. Most cancer patients have no idea what the difference is, but there are some clear advantages we’d like to address.

Benefits of Proton Radiation Therapy Over Traditional X-ray Radiation Therapy

First, let’s make sure you understand what proton therapy is and why it’s beneficial for cancer patients. Proton therapy uses protons instead of photons. Photons are used in traditional X-ray radiation that has been administered for over 100 years. Standard X-ray radiation therapy and proton therapy work in similar ways, primarily by damaging the DNA in cancer cells. However, protons offer some advantages over photons. The type and extent of damage done by protons is greater, and protons cause a number of types of injury to cancer cells different from those caused by X-rays. Proton beams also deposit their energy into tumors more precisely and therefore cause less damage to surrounding healthy tissues. This means fewer undesirable side effects for patients. It also means that it is sometimes feasible to safely give higher doses of proton treatment to the tumor target than can be achieved with X-rays resulting in potentially better outcomes.

Proton Therapy Is More Expensive

That’s all great news, and with these advantages, it’s easy to see why both doctors and patients would prefer proton therapy over X-ray therapy. Unfortunately, although proton beam therapy has become increasingly popular as a form of cancer treatment, it costs more than standard radiation. While some experts believe that proton therapy is safer than traditional radiation, there is limited research comparing the two treatments, so not all insurance companies cover the cost of the treatment. Often, they have policies in place classifying proton beam therapy as experimental or investigational and routinely deny coverage requests without considering the patient’s request and assessing their individual case.

What Is Office-Based Proton Therapy?

Most proton therapy treatments are delivered in a hospital setting. But cancer patients in and around the Kansas City area have a choice few others do. In KC, there are two places you can receive proton therapy – at the University of Kansas Cancer Center Proton Therapy Center and at Kansas City Proton Institute (KCPI) in Overland Park. KCPI is brand new and offers office-based proton therapy. KCPI is not affiliated with a hospital. Our center is the first “privately owned” physician-led proton therapy center in the region. Why is this an advantage for cancer patients? With office-based proton therapy, your treatments are less expensive. Cost is the biggest difference when considering hospital-based vs. office-based proton therapy.

Why Is Office-Based Proton Therapy Less Expensive?

Most patients have no idea that office-based proton therapy is typically much more affordable than hospital-based proton therapy. That’s not surprising. People don’t usually “shop” or price-compare for medical care. So, why is office-based proton therapy less expensive? It has to do with insurance coverage. Proton therapy is covered by Medicare and many insurance providers. Hospital-based radiation oncology programs are legally allowed by these insurance companies and Medicare, to charge higher rates and facility fees than privately owned facilities are allowed to charge. This is primarily because hospitals have much higher overhead costs than office-based clinics. Because of this, treatments at office-based clinics are often more cost-effective than those at hospital-based facilities. If patients have a deductible, this can mean thousands in out-of-pocket costs. Unfortunately, the fact that there is a difference is simply not common knowledge among patients. When comparing hospital-based vs. office-based proton therapy, remember to consider this cost difference.

Kansas City’s Only Office-Based Proton Therapy Provider

You do have a choice when it comes to where you receive your proton therapy in Kansas City. At the Kansas City Proton Institute in Overland Park, we offer the same level of care as hospital-based facilities but in a more convenient, cost-effective setting. Outpatient facilities like KCPI offer other advantages that a hospital can’t – particularly convenience and a reduced time commitment. There’s no need to drive downtown. Navigating a smaller facility is easier and less stressful too. You will be able to park near the entrance to the facility with no parking fee. You can’t beat the combination of increased convenience and lower costs at Kansas City Proton Institute. At KCPI, we are cutting costs on cutting-edge care.

KCPI is the only office-based proton radiation facility in the central United States. We are proud to be able to offer this new type of cancer treatment at a lower cost and with more convenience for our patients. To learn more, visit KCPI.com.

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