Cancer Treatment Centers names local CEO

Cancer Treatment Centers of America has named Kane Dawson as the new president and CEO of its hospital in Newnan, which is expected to open in September 2012.

Dawson, 39, has been with the company since 2002, most recently serving as the chief operating officer at CTCA’s facility in Philadelphia.

The Newnan facility will be the Illinois-based company’s fifth regional hospital, and is intended to serve cancer patients in the Southeast. CTCA says more than two-thirds of the cancer patients at the Newnan hospital will come for treatment from outside of Georgia.

“We are building this hospital to be closer to the patients we serve in the Southeast,” Dawson said in a statement. “To succeed, we need to be good community partners in Newnan, Coweta County and throughout Georgia. We are honored to be welcomed into the state and look forward to being a valued member of the community.”

Dawson said Friday in an interview that he will be spending his first months in Georgia hiring physicians and staff. “I’ll be getting to know the community and building relationships,” he said.

The building of the $150 million cancer treatment center has its origins in a 2008 bill in the Georgia General Assembly that created a loophole in the state’s certificate-of-need law regulating the construction of health care facilities.

The legislation had been opposed by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and local hospitals.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, though, was given a route to certificate-of-need approval after it promised that most of its patients would come from outside Georgia. And the privately held company received its certificate of need from the state in December 2009.

Besides the hospital in Philadelphia and the one in the works in Georgia, CTCA has facilities in Tulsa, Goodyear, Ariz., and Zion, Ill.

The company has estimated that the Newnan facility will create 500 jobs and $500 million in economic activity in the first five years of operation. Sonny Perdue, who was governor of Georgia at the time of the certification, was among the state officials who supported the cancer project.

Using a holistic approach, Cancer Treatment Centers of America says it combines traditional treatment and state-of-the-art technology with complementary therapies that boost the immune system, manage side effects and improve quality of life for patients.

Some critics have said that CTCA’s marketing — which includes TV ads with testimonials from cancer survivors and their loved ones — targets emotionally vulnerable patients with advanced-stage cancer.

Atlanta doctors testified before a Georgia House committee in 2007 that there was no proof that some of the company’s techniques worked. Yet several cancer patients told the House panel that their cancers had been arrested by CTCA physicians and treatments, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The next year, the Georgia Chamber contended that hospitals in the state already provided “first-class” cancer care, and that CTCA didn’t need an exception in certificate-of-need rules.

Supporters such as state Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) said the CTCA facility would be good for competition. Patients said CTCA offered services not provided by other hospitals, in areas such as spiritual support.

Prior to joining CTCA, Dawson served as vice president of business development for Piedmont Healthcare System in Rock Hill, S.C. He has also worked with Tenet Healthcare, Trimeridian and Charter Behavioral Health Systems.