Proficiency at treating tricky cancers like Chandler's is what makes the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute unique in Indiana. In fact, the institute, a nonprofit affiliated with the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center and Clarian Health, is one of only eight proton treatment centers in the nation.
Its rare precision is what makes it superior for treating cancers of the head and neck. But it is not what makes the institute hum financially. For years, the institute suffered losses despite providing a highly advanced treatment. Then, two years ago, IU and Clarian put cost controls in effect, and the institute started treating a far more common and easy-to-treat disease: prostate cancer.
The policy led to criticism from the institute's former medical director, Dr. Allan Thornton -- a highly regarded physician who was paid $1.12 million a year.