Mark Wert reports:
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center plans to add 28 in-patient beds in a new fourth story atop its Liberty Township building, more than tripling the number of in-house beds there.
In addition, Children’s will build a proton therapy facility to research and treat cancer at the site, located northwest of the intersection of Interstate 75 and Ohio 129.
Total cost of the expansion, scheduled to be completed by 2016, is $162 million, officials said Tuesday
Some patients undergoing cancer treatment at the proton facility would be housed in the additional new hospital beds.
There are currently are only 11 proton facilities nationwide. The closest to Cincinnati is at IU Health in Bloomington, Indiana.
Some doctors prefer proton therapy because it can be focused on a tumor and do little or no damage to surrounding healthy tissues. The therapy reduces “the risks for long-term complications, and potentially … (improves) tumor control, which makes it particularly beneficial for the care of children,” Children’s spokesman Jim Feuer said in an e-mail. There are few, if any, side effects from proton therapy compared to more conventional cancer treatments.
But the treatment is controversial because the equipment is expensive to install. In addition, while clinical trials comparing protons to standard X-ray radiotherapy are under way, “virtually none have shown proton beam radiation to be more effective at controlling cancer than X-ray radiation,” according to the American Association for Cancer Research.
The proton facility, which will cost $118 million and open sometime in 2016, will house two treatment rooms for clinical use with the potential to add a third clinical room in the future. Construction is scheduled to begin before year’s end.
The Liberty Township site opened in 2008 and currently has 12 in-patient beds, as well as offering a fully array of outpatient services.
The additional beds planned for the Liberty Township campus will add new patient capacity for general and specialized pediatric care, officials said. New support services that will added at the campus through this expansion include a full-service cafeteria, a blood bank, and an expanded pharmacy.
Adding the beds in Butler County will allow Children’s “to better serve this growing population area and offer more convenience for many families,” Feuer wrote in the e-mail. “In addition, it will ease some of the pressure on our main campus (in Corryville), where patient volumes continue to grow year over year.”
The Liberty campus, which already has a 24-hour emergency room, will be open during construction. The $44 million expansion of the existing building there will begin during the winter of 2014 and be completed in the summer of 2015