Hampton University
Virginia House and Senate Give Final Passage to Delegate David Yancey's Proton Therapy Bill
02/24/2017 - #157

RICHMOND, Va. — Legislation that prohibits health insurers from holding proton radiation cancer therapy to a higher standard of clinical effectiveness than other radiation treatments received final approval in the Virginia General Assembly this week before adjourning the session on Saturday.
 
The Senate voted 40-0 and the House voted 90-3 for the measure and is sending the approved legislation to Gov. Terrence McAuliffe for his signature.

“It’s a first step in the legislature that puts us on a level playing field,” said Dr. Allan Thornton, veteran Radiation Oncologist with nearly 20 years of experience and one of the leading Oncologists for the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute. “It tells the insurance companies that they cannot discriminate against proton therapy or hold it to a higher standard than traditional radiation therapy.”
 
Proton therapy the most technological advanced radiation therapy in the world, is a medical procedure that uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue. It was approved for cancer treatment by the Food and Drug Administration in 1988. Proton therapy precisely delivers a curative dose of radiation to the tumor, and improves the cancer patient survival rate, spares the surrounding healthy tissue, reduces side effects and secondary malignancies and increases the patient’s quality of life.
 
“The chief advantage of proton therapy over other radiation therapy treatments is it can more precisely localize the radiation dose, reducing side effects to surrounding tissue, the measure’s patron,” said Newport News Delegate David Yancey.

According to a study by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the incidences of cancer will outpace population growth in Virginia for the next 25 years. It is also predicted that the Commonwealth will see more than 70,000 cases of prostate cancer, almost 63,000 cases of breast cancer and 64,000 cases of lung cancer by 2020.

“This landmark legislation will become a huge precision cancer treatment therapy and life-saving resource for Virginians because cancer is now the leading cause of death in the Commonwealth,” said Bill Thomas, HU Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations. “Delegate David Yancey is to be commended for his tireless work in getting this legislation passed. Dr. William R. Harvey, President of Hampton University is committed to transforming cancer treatment in Virginia and beyond.”

The top 10 cancer centers in the United States, including MD Anderson, Mayo Clinic, Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital, and Memorial-Sloan Kettering, John Hopkins, either have or are developing proton therapy centers. There are 17 operational proton centers America with 12 under construction, and 15 under development.
 
Dr. Harvey is responsible for the vision that has brought this live saving technology to Virginia having saved over 1,800 lives in over 170 cities, counties, and towns in the Commonwealth.

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