About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Spotsy hospital clears early hurdle

Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center at sunset.

The Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center has received an early endorsement of its plan to offer radiation therapy services.

Len Varmette, an analyst at the Virginia Department of Health, this morning recommended partial approval of the project. He agrees with the hospital’s plan to buy a linear accelerator and offer radiation treatments to cancer patients. He also recommends approval of two companion services: CT simulation and PET/CT treatments.

But Varmette disagrees with Spotsylvania Regional’s plan to offer stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS.  The University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville offers SRS. Mary Washington Hospital also will offer it at its recently approved cancer center, beginning next year. “The addition of yet another service at this time is premature,” Varmette concluded.

Spotsylvania’s application now goes to a “fact-finding” conference next week at the Health Department and eventually to the state health commissioner for a final decision.

For more details about the analyst’s decision, see the story in tomorrow’s paper.