Provision is now Thompson Proton Center as Covenant Health acquires Knoxville start-up

Sandra ClarkOur Town Health, West Knoxville

Covenant Health has acquired the Provision CARES Proton Therapy Center at Dowell Springs in Knoxville, Tennessee, effective July 19, 2022.


The facility was founded by Terry Douglass Ph.D., who brought proton therapy to the area and later launched ProNova Solutions LLC in Blount County to manufacture the proton imaging machine.

Terry Douglass

Douglass was founder and board chair of CTI Molecular Imaging Inc., a public company that manufactured molecular imaging products. CTI was acquired by Siemens in 2005 at a market capitalization of $1 billion. The company developed positron emission tomography (PET). Douglass moved heaven and earth to secure FDA approval and Medicare reimbursement for PET services.

He obtained his degrees including the doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, according to the Provision website.

The acquisition is a great fit for Covenant Health, adding a new treatment option to the Thompson Cancer Survival Center. Provision will continue to operate its other centers and equipment production.

What is proton therapy?

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses beams of high-energy protons to treat various forms of cancer, while protecting nearby healthy tissue and vital organs from unnecessary radiation.

The facility’s new name is Thompson Proton Center. One of just 40 proton therapy facilities in the U.S. Covenant Health is retaining the employees of the proton center to ensure experience, quality and continuity of care for all current and future patients, according to a release from Covenant Health.

Jim VanderSteeg

“This purchase aligns with the health system’s mission to improve the quality of life in our region through better health,” said Jim VanderSteeg, Covenant Health president and CEO. “Proton therapy is a valuable treatment option, and our investment will ensure that the service remains available to cancer patients in our region. Covenant Health has an ongoing commitment to investing in our communities, and to providing advanced treatment and support resources for the patients who trust us with their care.”

Luke Johnson, Covenant Health executive vice president of physician enterprise and ambulatory services, said the addition of proton therapy to Covenant Health’s cancer services continues the legacy of B. Ray Thompson, the business leader whose vision for cancer care in East Tennessee led to the establishment of Thompson Cancer Survival Center in 1989. Learn more here.

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