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Hospital pursuing cancer center
Emory seeks OK from state
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Forsyth County News
Emory Johns Creek Hospital is again seeking the state’s permission to build a cancer center.

Johnel Reid, hospital spokeswoman, said the estimated $30 million center would be affiliated with the Winship Cancer Institute, the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in the state and one of 60 in the country.

“We already do cancer care. What we don’t do is radiation therapy,” she said. “It would allow us to do stereotactic radiation therapy and offer clinical trials that right now are only available through Emory [in Atlanta].”

According to the hospital, stereotactic radiosurgery is a non-surgical procedure that involves using high-dose radiation beams to zap tumors and certain lesions in sensitive areas.

It is used to treat brain, prostate and other cancers. One of the benefits cited by the hospital is that patients need fewer treatments than conventional therapy.

The Georgia Department of Community Health handles certificates of need, which are required for health systems seeking to add new medical services.

The lengthy process is aimed at distributing medical care evenly across the state and avoiding duplication of expensive services.

Emory Johns Creek Hospital withdrew its previous application for the cancer center in March, citing strategic reorganization.

This time, the 110-bed hospital has applied specifically for a certificate of need for a mobile PET/CT service, which would cost an estimated $77,900, and hospital-based non-special radiation with a price tag of about $13 million.

John Quinlivan, chief executive officer of the hospital said the planned facility could see about 200 patients in its first year of operation.

Reid said the 20,000-square-foot facility could be more convenient for nearby residents in need of radiation treatment.

“You’re going back and forth to the clinics or wherever you’re going every day for weeks,” she said. “So the travel becomes burdensome and a lot of times, even downtown Emory, they see patients from as far north as the northernmost parts of Georgia.”

During a meeting Monday night, the Johns Creek City Council approved a resolution in support of the hospital’s efforts.

Mayor Mike Bodker said he is “proud of our local hospital and I’m proud to support this resolution.”

He said while the certificate of need process is an uphill battle, he wants to “wish them the best.”

Northside Hospital-Forsyth in Cumming was awarded a certificate of need for a mobile PET/CT scanner last year. The unit is used in the diagnosing and staging of cancer.

The deadline for the state department’s decision on Emory John Creek’s applications is in December.

Staff Writer Jennifer Sami contributed to this report.