Decision pending on Spectrum bone marrow proposal

May 7, 2010
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Spectrum Health’s proposed bone marrow transplant program for adults is expected to generate $3.5 million in revenue during the fiscal year ending in 2012, the first year of operations, according to an application to the state for a Certificate of Need.

The health system indicated that it expects to spend about $500,000 to renovate eight rooms on Butterworth Hospital’s oncology floor. Special air filtration systems are needed to protect the patients with compromised immune systems.

Spectrum Health’s application is expected to be taken up at the Alliance for Health’s Evaluation Board meeting next week. 

The new service would first be available for young adults up to age 30 using their own bone marrow. Eventually, it would expand to include older adults for transplants from other people, the hospital system’s Strategic Program Manager Bob Meeker said last week.

The health system estimated that 15 transplants could be performed in the first year of operation, increasing to as many as 45 by the third year. More than 130 adults were referred to adult bone marrow transplant programs at other hospitals in the period from 2002 to 2008, Spectrum Health’s application stated.

Spectrum has conducted bone marrow transplants for children for 12 years, Meeker said. Dr. Aly Abdel-Mageed is medical director for the pediatric program and is expected to take on the same role if the new service is approved by the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Certificate of Need staff.

The Certificate of Need Commission last year appointed a committee to review the number of adult bone marrow transplant programs in Michigan after Spectrum Health argued that the service should be available in Grand Rapids. Currently adult bone marrow transplants are performed at Henry Ford Hospital, the University of Michigan Hospital and the Karmanos Cancer Center of Detroit.

The Certificate of Need Commission agreed to split the state in two planning areas to allow adult bone marrow transplants to be available in West Michigan as well as Southeast Michigan, opening the door for Spectrum Health. Final approval of that change is expected this month, and a CON decision on the Spectrum program is anticipated by June 29.

Without the change in standards, the Spectrum Health proposal would be rejected, Alliance for Health President Lody Zwarensteyn said.

“Someone might even say, do we need another in the state, regardless of the planning areas?” Zwarensteyn said. “Most of us have concluded that a bone marrow (transplant) isn’t that esoteric anymore.”

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