Community Memorial Hospital Ponders Prostate Cancer Center
Ventura County's Community Memorial Hospital is considering building a "state-of-the-art" national prostate cancer center, the Ventura County Star reports. Executive Director Michael Bakst said the hospital has not yet committed to such a center, but CMH spokesperson Mark Barnhill acknowledged that the hospital is "exploring ways of enhancing treatment options for the prostate cancer." Treating prostate cancer is considered a "money maker," the Star reports, since "on average" patients have insurance coverage and the treatment requires "substantial" low-cost follow-ups. Profits from the prostate center could offset the "decreasing reimbursements" and "cushion" the hospital from debt incurred by conforming to the state's new seismic requirements (Koehler, Ventura County Star, 12/18).
"[I]t would be an encouraging sign for CMH ... to develop and maintain a specialized health care program that answers a critical need," a Ventura County Star editorial says. Calling the proposal for the cancer center "good" news, the Star says Ventura County would "benefit economically" while "providing specialized treatment for patients." However, the editorial also recognizes the need for hospital officials to "move cautiously" because the risks involved in specialized medicine may "outweig[h] the financial gain." The editorial concludes that "pursuing plans for a national prostate cancer center would certainly appear to factor nicely into [an] overall health care equation" (Ventura County Star, 12/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.