Montana Cancer Center (MCC) established the Polson Oncology Clinic in 2001. Oncologists and chemotherapy drugs traveled from Missoula to Polson every Tuesday. Physicians at MCC operate as Montana Cancer Specialists.
In July 2013 Providence St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC) became responsible for the clinic and contracted with MCC to provide an oncologist each week. Chemotherapy drugs are now provided by the SJMC pharmacy. Clinic staff members continue to be SJMC employees.
The change was a financial decision. Hospitals are reimbursed at a better rate for chemotherapy drugs than are private clinics. Dr. Linda Ries replaced Dr. Patrick Beatty who continues as a Montana Cancer Specialist (MCS) at Community Medical Center in Missoula. Dr. William Nichols was the first MCS doctor to make the trip to Polson.
Hospitals must meet stricter safety standards than private clinics which means that patients have experienced a few minor physical changes.