The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted three-year accreditation to the cancer program at the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet 34 CoC quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care.¬†
Because it is a CoC-accredited cancer center, the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists.¬† This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care.¬†
The inspector noted several areas worthy of commendation including the number and quality of clinical trials available to patients, the transparency of reporting outcomes to the public, the oncologic training and expertise of the cancer center nurses, the up to date education of the Tumor Registrars, the accuracy of the data reported to the National Cancer Data Base and the implementation of uploading patient data into a Rapid Quality Reporting System.
‚ÄúWe are very proud of our physicians and employees for receiving ACOS accreditation with commendation for the second time,‚ÄĚ said Harry Weis, Chief Executive Officer for Tahoe Forest Health System. ‚ÄúBy connecting all of the important elements of the patient care experience, we are delivering a model of care that is truly next generation ‚Äď highly compassionate care with amazing clinical tools and incredible patient outcomes.‚ÄĚ ¬†¬†
The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long followup for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care.¬†
When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling, and patient centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve cancer survivors‚Äô quality of life.¬†
Like all CoC-accredited facilities, the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society (ACS).¬† This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world.¬† Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care.¬† CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports.¬† These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts. ¬†
ACS estimates that more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2013.¬† There are currently more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, representing 30 percent of all hospitals.¬† CoC-accredited facilities diagnose and/or treat more than 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients.¬† When cancer patients choose to seek care locally at a CoC-accredited cancer center, they are gaining access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home. The CoC provides the public with information on the resources, services, and cancer treatment experience for each CoC-accredited cancer program through the CoC Hospital Locator at http://www.facs.org/cancerprogram/index.html.
Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving patient outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care.¬† Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons.¬† For more information, visit: www.facs.org/cancer.