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Lakeland HealthCare Cancer Program Accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons
(ST. JOSEPH) – The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation to the Cancer Program at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph.

A facility receives a Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation following the on-site evaluation by a physician surveyor. The facility must demonstrate a Commendation level of compliance with one or more standards that represent the full scope of the cancer program (cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach, and quality improvement). In addition, a facility receives a compliance rating for all other standards.

“We are very proud of this achievement and the level of care it represents for our patients with cancer in Southwest Michigan,” said Jann Totzke, RN, Executive Director of Oncology Services, Lakeland HealthCare. “The accreditation is the result of hard work and dedication by the many physicians, nurses, clinicians and associates involved in each patient’s care.”

Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates 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 and 42 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.

The core functions of the CoC include setting standards for quality, multidisciplinary cancer patient care; surveying facilities to evaluate compliance with the 36 CoC standards; collecting standardized and quality data from accredited facilities; and using the data to develop effective educational interventions to improve cancer care outcomes at the national, state, and local levels.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that more than 1.5 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2010. There are currently more than 1,400 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, representing close to 25 percent of all hospitals. This 25 percent of hospitals diagnose and/or treat 71 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients each year. In addition, a national network of more than 1,600 volunteer Cancer Liaison Physicians provides leadership and support for the CoC Accreditation Program and other CoC activities at these local facilities.

The Accreditation Program, a component of the CoC, sets quality-of-care standards for cancer programs and reviews the programs to ensure they conform to those standards. Accreditation by the CoC is given only to those facilities that have voluntarily committed to providing the highest level of quality cancer care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance. To maintain accreditation, facilities with CoC-accredited cancer programs must undergo an on-site review every three years.

Receiving care at a CoC-accredited cancer program ensures that a patient will have access to:
  • comprehensive care, include a range of state-of-the-art services and equipment;
  • a multispecialty, team approach to coordinate the best treatment options;
  • access to cancer-related information, education, and support;
  • a cancer registry that collects data on type and stage of cancers and treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up;
  • ongoing monitoring and improvement of care;
  • and, most importantly, quality care close to home.
Cancer patient data are reported by each CoC-accredited cancer program to the CoC’s National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint CoC/American Cancer Society program. The NCDB currently contains patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and treatment and outcomes information for more than 18 million cancer patients diagnosed and treated at hospital cancer programs in the U.S. between 1985 and 2004. These data account for approximately two-thirds of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the U.S. each year.

NCDB data is regularly used to monitor and improve the quality of patient care delivered in CoC-accredited cancer programs. The CoC requires programs to implement quality improvement initiatives that promote the delivery of quality, multidisciplinary cancer care and lead to ongoing educational interventions with local providers in the CoC-accredited cancer programs.

Through an exclusive partnership with the American Cancer Society, the CoC provides the public with information on the resources, services, and cancer treatment experience for each CoC-accredited cancer program. This information is shared with the public on the American Cancer Society’s website at www.cancer.org and through the American Cancer Society’s National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-ACS-2345.

For more information about the Commission on Cancer, visit www.facs.org/cancer/index.html.

Lakeland HealthCare is a non-profit, community-owned health system, which includes four hospitals, physician practices, an outpatient surgery center, rehabilitation, long-term care, and home care services. Lakeland has almost 4,000 employees who provide clinical and support services at locations throughout southwest Michigan, and partners with 400 physicians and licensed providers. For more information, visit www.lakelandhealth.org.

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