NEW ORLEANS — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Provision Healthcare CEO Terry Douglass announced the company and its partners will make a $100 million capital investment and build a 30,000-square-foot Louisiana Proton Therapy Center in the New Orleans biomedical corridor. Deploying advanced technology that produces far fewer side effects than conventional radiation treatments for cancer, Provision plans to develop the center on the University Medical Center campus on Canal Street.
Provision Healthcare is pursuing a partnership with University Medical Center New Orleans, LCMC Health and LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. The project will create 60 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $100,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project also will result in 63 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 120 new jobs in the New Orleans area.
With only two dozen proton therapy centers in operation in the U.S. – and the nearest centers at Willis-Knighton Health System in Shreveport, Louisiana, and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston – Provision will introduce a more-efficient prototype facility in New Orleans, where the company and local partners expect to draw a wide range of regional, out-of-state and out-of-country patients. The broad geographic base is expected to drive greater medical tourism to New Orleans and increase the city’s profile as a healthcare destination.
“Every year, nearly two million Americans are diagnosed with cancer, and they frequently face life-threatening consequences,” Gov. Edwards said. “Of these patients, several hundred thousand are good candidates for proton therapy and would greatly benefit from these innovative treatments. Yet fewer than 10 percent of those patients can now be served by existing proton therapy centers. We’re proud that New Orleans will be a vital part of the solution for increasing this life-saving capacity. We’ll see our largest city become a stronger healthcare magnet because of this center. Most importantly, we will see more lives saved in Louisiana.”
Based in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area, Provision Healthcare was formed in 2005 with a goal of furnishing comprehensive, community-based solutions in innovative cancer care. Dr. Terry Douglass, a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, founded the firm after leading companies (EG&G Ortec, CTI Molecular Imaging) that pioneered medical imaging technologies, including PET – positron emission tomography – and PET’s combination with CT – computer-assisted tomography – that became leading tools for early cancer detection.
“Provision chose to expand and invest in Louisiana because of the strength of the healthcare community in Louisiana and New Orleans, and the support and collaboration received from local and state authorities,” Douglass said. “We believe that proton therapy can benefit Louisiana and New Orleans, which has some of the highest cancer-incidence rates in the country. In addition, we are particularly excited about the possibility of working with LCMC and LSU Health and the vision that they have to provide world-class cancer care in New Orleans.”
Provision plans to break ground on the Louisiana Proton Therapy Center before the end of 2017. Following a two-year construction phase, the center will begin seeing patients by late 2019.
“As the region’s leading academic medical center, access to cutting-edge technology and research is a core part of our mission at University Medical Center New Orleans,” said CEO Gregory C. Feirn of LCMC Health. “This proton therapy center can provide next-generation cancer treatment to our community and region – an innovative tool in our fight against cancer and in solidifying UMC’s role in destination healthcare.”
“Cancer incidence and mortality rates among men and women in Louisiana are worse than the national rates for all cancers combined, and cancer remains the second-leading cause of death here,” said Chancellor Larry H. Hollier, M.D., of LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. “In putting this innovative technology to work for our patients, we hope to make great strides in reducing those stark statistics and greatly improve both their quantity and quality of life.”
To secure the project, LED offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a $1 million performance-based grant, payable in five annual installments beginning in 2020, and the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart® – the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program. In addition, Provision Healthcare is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs Program.
“We are thrilled that Provision has decided to bring their company to New Orleans,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “This is another sign of New Orleans’ growing economy and business attraction efforts. Provision will be a great addition to our healthcare industry and biomedical corridor, will create jobs, and will advance cancer treatment to help people in a real way.”
Provision Healthcare and the Louisiana Proton Therapy Center have engaged The HWH Group to pursue federal New Markets Tax Credits that support redevelopment in the city’s biomedical corridor. Beyond the healthcare partnerships, a central factor in selecting the University Medical Center site is its location in a qualified U.S. census tract. The location qualifies the proton therapy cancer center development for federal financing through the New Markets Tax Credit program.
“We are delighted to welcome Provision to New Orleans,” said President and CEO Quentin Messer of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “This project underscores the unique potential of the University Medical Center and LSU Health Sciences Center and other local research institutions and healthcare providers to spur bio-related economic growth in New Orleans and throughout the region. New Orleans’ unparalleled, world-class research innovation, hospitality and teamwork made this project a reality. NOLABA’s support of the Louisiana Proton Therapy Center is only beginning and we cannot wait for the first patient testimonials.”
“GNO Inc. is delighted to welcome Provision Healthcare to greater New Orleans,” said GNO Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht. “Provision Healthcare is an exciting manifestation of our destination healthcare strategy, whereby people from outside of New Orleans come here to seek critical care, and spend time and money. We look forward to working with our healthcare providers and Provision to ensure their success, and to continue to grow our biomedical sector in greater New Orleans.”
About Provision Healthcare
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Provision Healthcare LLC was formed in 2005 to develop innovative healthcare solutions focused on improving patient care and clinical outcomes and developing support for research, education and charitable causes. Provision brings expertise in development, management and startup of cancer centers and proton centers, utilizing the state-of-the-art ProNova SC360 proton therapy system. This unique expertise and experience – combined with an innovative, entrepreneurial approach – have propelled Provision toward a position of industry leadership with respect to both cancer care and proton therapy. For more information, visit Provisionha.com.