Seven years ago, few people knew about proton therapy, a form of radiation that can more precisely target and irradiate a tumor. However, that didn’t stop James Jarrett from taking what he calls a leap of faith to join a fledgling company that has now built three proton-therapy facilities and is the largest provider of proton therapy in the U.S. Jarrett, 38, serves as president of the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, N.J. He joined ProCure Treatment Centers, the facility’s parent company, as its second employee in 2005 and has held a number of business development, marketing and operations positions.
“What really interests James is how things work, how things can be made better and how an experience can be improved,” says Hadley Ford, ProCure’s CEO.
Jarrett’s understanding of the factors that drive the patient experience led him to standardize the patient intake process, starting with the company’s Oklahoma facility, Ford says.
He found that patients first need to be aware of proton therapy as a treatment option, which makes it important that by the time they call a facility that they meet with a physician in a timely manner. (There are only 10 proton therapy facilities in the U.S. in operation.) “That initial observation lessened the amount of time it took to get someone into the proton center,” Ford says, “and it improved the ability of patients to have access to protons.”
It was Ford who hired Jarrett, whom he had worked with during an earlier career in banking. The two worked closely together, with Jarrett helping draft the company’s business plan and arrange the original financial plan, which led to the $700 million in equity capital that ProCure has raised since 2005. “It was a pretty big leap of faith, but it was certainly an exciting leap and an exciting trip so far,” Jarrett says.
When Jarrett was considering his first position with ProCure, he spoke with a residency classmate of his father, who is a vascular surgeon. The classmate, who had worked with proton therapy in a lab setting in the 1960s, told him that the company could impact how radiation therapy is delivered in the U.S.
“To me, that seemed like a pretty worthwhile risk to take,” Jarrett says.
The $160 million facility in Somerset opened this year. Jarrett notes that patients are starting to refer other patients and their satisfaction scores on post-treatment surveys are encouraging.
As the only proton therapy facility in the great New York metropolitan area, Jarrett noted the opportunities for the facility to grow, especially with the addition of treatment for pediatric tumors and lung cancer later this year.
“What really interests James is how things work, how things can be made better and how an experience can be improved.”
38, President, ProCure Proton Therapy Center, Somerset, N.J.