Las Vegas Cancer Center to Shut Down

    In a Dec. 12 announcement, officials said the small conglomerate of independent oncology practices, which UCSD bought out of bankruptcy in Jan. 2012 for $18 million, had failed to compete against other companies in Nevada due to an unsteady patient referral base.

    UCSD’s short-lived involvement with the center was the first time in history any University of California had purchased and operated an out-of-state clinical practice.

    In early November 2012, UCSD attempted to keep the center afloat by entering negotiations to lease one-third of the center to three Nevada cancer companies, including the main partner, the Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN). But the pending partnership fell apart when an unnamed CCCN hospital operator refused to approve a deal that denied for-profit doctor groups from occupying the center, according to the U-T San Diego.

    “At the 11th hour, we were notified that they were not going to sign the waiver for the land-use covenants.” UCSD Dean of Clinical Affairs Tom McAfee told the U-T San Diego in Dec. 12 article, “UCSD shuts down Nevada clinic, expansion disrupted.” “It leaves us in a very uncomfortable situation of not being able to complete the lease.”

    Throughout the year, attempts to restore the center’s withering patient referral base were unsuccessful in the midst of higher California-mandated taxes and the challenges of new management. McAfee wanted to keep the center non-profit as per the agreement UCSD had made with the Nevada Cancer Center during the purchase, but UCSD simply could not sustain the center without a partnership and decided to close its doors.

    UCSD’s original goals to expand its clinical trials for the Moores Cancer Center, establishing an out-of-state academic program and offering specialized procedures to Nevada’s residents, according to McAfee, have been delayed.

    “Had we known it would turn out this way, we probably wouldn’t have gone forward in the first place. We didn’t go into Las Vegas to get into the real estate business,” McAfee said in the U-T San Diego.

    As a result, 350 cancer patients were notified in December to find a new oncologist and an additional 75 Nevada Cancer Center employees received layoff notices the same day that UCSD announced the decision to close the center. Plans to expand have been disrupted, but UCSD plans to approach the idea of a partnership with another similarly non-profit oncology group in the future.

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