MIRA MESA, Calif.—Scripps Health hired Lei Dong as chief medical physicist for a proton therapy center under construction and on track to begin treating patients in spring 2013.
Regional News/West: Scripps Health hires Lei Dong as chief medical physicist, and other news
Dong most recently was deputy chair of the department of radiation physics at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. Scripps Clinic Medical Group, meanwhile, recently named Dr. Carl Rossi Jr. as the medical director for Scripps Proton Therapy Center. For the past nine years, Rossi has been the facility director of Loma Linda University Radiation Medicine in Ridgecrest, Calif. The Scripps Health-affiliated practice will oversee medical services at the center, while the system will provide clinical management services.
The $220 million project is being developed by Advanced Particle Therapy, which secured financing for the construction, equipment and seven-acre site in Mira Mesa, several miles from the system's Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Construction on the 102,000-square-foot facility started in October 2010, and in October of this year, workers installed a 90-ton cyclotron, the equipment that accelerates protons to create the beam that targets hard-to-reach tumors. Scripps Health expects the center to treat about 2,400 patients a year from throughout the West. The system also wants to form partnerships with other providers in the region interested in providing proton therapy and in November announced one with 318-bed Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego.
PHOENIX—Mayo Clinic plans to begin construction this month on a $182 million facility in Phoenix that will house the health system's proton-beam therapy program. The 20-hospital system also broke ground in September on a $188 million proton-beam therapy facility in Rochester, Minn., where Mayo Clinic is based. The Arizona and Minnesota campuses will have a total of eight treatment rooms that will offer proton-beam therapy treatment. The Rochester treatment rooms are slated to open in 2015; the first of the Arizona treatment rooms are expected to open the following year. Both facilities will each employ about 130 staff members, including about 13 physicians at each site. The proton-beam therapy program will employ a more precise form of proton therapy, called pencil beam scanning, which allows for greater control over radiation doses, shorter treatment times and fewer side effects. “As more people in the United States survive cancer, the long-term management of cancer patients becomes more important,” Dr. Steven Schild, chairman of the radiation oncology department at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said in the release. “Proton therapy offers the possibility to treat recurrences in patients who have undergone previous radiation therapy procedures to potentially extend their survival.”
LAS VEGAS—MountainView Hospital executives and registered nurses organized by the National Nurses United have reached a contract agreement, the union said. The contract is the first between MountainView, an HCA-owned hospital in Las Vegas, and the union, which won an election at 235-bed MountainView nearly two years ago. The National Nurses Union is also in first-contract negotiations with 16 HCA hospitals in Florida, Missouri and Texas. The National Nurses Union and HCA, Nashville, reached an organizing agreement last year that allowed organizers access to workers in some states in exchange for a pledge to leave some HCA hospitals alone. MountainView nurse pay increases will range from 9% to 19% during the contract, the union said in a news release. MountainView also agreed to no mandatory overtime and to review staffing under a newly created committee and hire additional nurses, according to the release.
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