Tenn. law provides insurance covered proton therapy for all state employees

Photo: National Cancer Institute

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — A Tennessee law that takes effect January 1, 2020, will provide insurance coverage for proton therapy for all state employees.

According to a release, the new law sponsored by Senator Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) will ensure any person covered by a state employee health plan who is diagnosed with cancer can receive hypofractionated proton therapy if the physician and patient believe it would be beneficial to their treatment plan.

“The Proton Therapy Access Act will provide cutting edge cancer treatment to state employees and other state health plan members at no additional cost to the state, cancer patients, or insurance companies,” said Senator Massey. “As we all know, a cancer diagnosis can be horrific for patients and families, so we need to have all the tools available to ensure patients can get the most effective treatment, with the best possible outcomes."

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy. It uses protons rather than x-rays to more accurately target tumors, says a release from Senator Massey's office.

“Providing greater access to this treatment is very dear to me. My father died of prostate cancer in 1988, and had proton therapy been available to him at the time, we might have had a different outcome,” added Massey.

Proton therapy was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1988 but can be unavailable to many cancer patients if their insurance company does not cover it.

Provision Cares, a Proton therapy group in Knoxville, has provided such therapy to more than 3,000 patients so far and will celebrate six years of being in business on January 20, 2020.

Copyright 2019 WVLT. All rights reserved.