Approximately 1,400 health care institutions in the United States — including the Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center — are accredited by the COC. That number represents less than 25 percent of the hospitals in the United States and its territories.
The Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center recently completed the process of renewing its accreditation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer for another three years. In 2006, the COC awarded the Lucy Curci Cancer Center the Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award, which is awarded triennially to a select group of institutions that strive for excellence in cancer care.
Joan Randall, Executive Director of the Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center, says that seeking accreditation from the COC is a voluntary process, which Eisenhower elects to do, so that the Center is continually meeting or exceeding the highest standards of care.
“By proactively seeking the American College of Surgeons accreditation, we are ensuring Eisenhower meets the standards of excellence established by the Commission on Cancer,” Randall says. “Receiving accreditation means we have a comprehensive approach to cancer treatment that strives to meet the medical, psychological and social needs of every patient at Eisenhower.”
According to the Commission on Cancer, every COC-accredited program must provide certain basic services. These services include 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.
Eisenhower’s multidisciplinary approach is centered in its cancer committee, explains Randall, which includes Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Pathologists, Radiologists, Surgeons, and referring physicians, including family practitioners and internists. The team also includes highly trained nurses, and representatives from the American Cancer Society, rehabilitation services and social work services.
“There are additional elements to our program at the Lucy Curci Cancer Center that other non-accredited centers do not have,” Randall adds. “For example, we collect data that looks at how we deliver care and allows us to benchmark our outcomes against those of other accredited institutions. As a result, we can determine how we are doing and how we can make improvements.”
Randall adds that Eisenhower also shares its 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.
The American College of Surgeons has conducted surveys that show that many patients are not aware of the importance of the Commission on Cancer accreditation program. “If a cancer patient is treated at an institution accredited by the ACOS,” explains Randall, “It means they are going to get quality care close to home, with a comprehensive approach that includes state-of-the-art equipment, a multidisciplinary medical team, access to cancer-related information and support programs, access to clinical trials, and the latest cancer research. Because of our accreditation, patients can be sure that all of these services are available at the Lucy Curci Cancer Center.”