The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) is a consortium of 47 medical organizations that work together to improve survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients. Founded in 1922, the CoC has developed standards of care designed to ensure that cancer patients throughout the country have access to quality cancer treatment. Every three years, Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center completes an extensive application and survey process to be accredited by the Commission on Cancer. In March, Eisenhower not only received a three-year renewal of its accreditation, but also received the CoC’s Outstanding Achievement Award, one of only 82 cancer programs in the country to receive the award. The 2009 award is Eisenhower’s second consecutive Outstanding Achievement Award.
“This award honors Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center as one of the best in the nation, and recognizes our physicians and staff for both their medical expertise and their dedication to providing the highest level of compassionate patient care,” says Ann Mostofi, Eisenhower Vice President of Healthcare Services.“In making its award, the Commission in particular cited Eisenhower for our prevention and early detection programs, and for our public education and patient support programs, which they said exceeded other programs they have seen.”
Approximately 1,500 health care institutions in the United States are accredited by the CoC. That number represents less than 25 percent of the hospitals in the United States. CoC-accredited programs like Eisenhower’s must provide certain basic services including clinical laboratory and diagnostic imaging; a multidisciplinary treatment program that includes medical oncology, radiology, and surgical procedures; clinical research; oncology nursing; pain management; patient counseling and support services; and, an education program focused on prevention and early detection. Each facility also receives a rating for 30 additional standards.
Established in 2004, the CoC Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) recognizes cancer programs that continually strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. A cancer facility receives the award following an on-site evaluation by a physician reviewer. The program must be in compliance with standards established by the Commission on Cancer within five areas of program activities (cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, research, community outreach, and quality improvement). The 82 programs that received the OAA in 2009 represent 18 percent of the 432 programs surveyed for consideration for the award, and less than six percent of the number of hospitals accredited by the American College of Surgeons.
Mostofi explains that other programs recognized are Eisenhower’s cancer registry and the access to clinical trials.“We collect data that looks at how we deliver care, which allows us to constantly measure the quality of our patient care against other accredited institutions,” shares Mostofi.“As a result, we can determine how we are doing and how we can make improvements.” Eisenhower also shares treatment and outcome data with the American Cancer Society®, the National Cancer Institute®, and other state and federal agencies that look at trends in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
“We are very involved in research because cancer is not just one disease, it is many diseases, and in most cases we do not know the exact cause. By sharing our data with research institutions, we do our part to investigate the causes, and ultimately the cures, for cancer,” shares Mostofi.