UAMS, CARTI Agree To $9.5 Million Split

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,034 views 

After more than 40 years of partnership, a desire to take cancer treatment in different directions has led to a split between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute (CARTI).

The two Little Rock-based health care entities announced today (April 19) that UAMS would purchase the assets of CARTI on the UAMS campus in Little Rock for $9.5 million.

While the two parties expressed goodwill in a joint press release, the negotiations have been contentious.

Last fall, CARTI announced a new partnership with Little Rock Hematology Oncology and Radiation Oncology Associates, P.A. The three groups said they were partnering to form the state’s largest private practice multi-specialty cancer group, which included plans to build a new cancer treatment center in Little Rock.

UAMS, which provides teaching and research specialties in addition to cancer treatment, is in pursuit of National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation for its Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

“UAMS has enjoyed a long relationship with CARTI and we really appreciate their service to our patients and the people of Arkansas over the years. We wish them nothing but the best in their new endeavor,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D.

“By operating the radiation therapy clinic solely as a UAMS program we feel we will be better able in the future to reach our overarching goal of achieving National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation for our Rockefeller Cancer Institute and ensure the high level of academics, service and research innovations that designation requires,” Rahn added.

“Since our opening, CARTI has provided radiation therapy for the patients of UAMS, and during the past 11 years, we have had a presence on their campus,” said Jan Burford, President and CEO of CARTI.

“During that time, CARTI’s partnership with the University has been positive not only for our patients, but for both organizations. We will work closely with the University staff to ensure that the transition is seamless for our patients and their families, as well as our colleagues,” said Burford.

UAMS says radiation treatment will continue on its campus following the closing of the transaction and will be provided by UAMS and its faculty physicians, physicists and other employees.

CARTI will continue providing radiation therapy on the campuses of St. Vincent, Baptist Health in Little Rock and North Little Rock, and in Searcy, Conway and Mountain Home.

UAMS and CARTI have had an association for more than 40 years. In 1968, UAMS, St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, Baptist Medical Center and the VA Hospital came together to help establish CARTI on the St. Vincent campus as a centralized provider of radiation therapy. At the time, the majority of radiation therapy patients were seeking treatment out of state because it was too expensive for hospitals to operate separate units.

The thought was that by the hospitals’ pooling of their support for one facility in Little Rock, Arkansans would have access to radiation therapy without leaving the state.

In 1976, CARTI treated its first patient and over the years has opened seven separate facilities across the state and on hospital campuses in Little Rock to meet patient demand for radiation therapy.

With the growth of visits by patients treated by UAMS faculty physicians at both the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and Arkansas Children’s Hospital, CARTI began operating a radiation oncology clinic on the UAMS campus in 2001. The clinic was constructed by UAMS and leased to CARTI.