By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anastasia Puscian, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO – The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (ACS COC) announced Feb. 24 that the Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) command cancer team earned the highest accreditation possible and the COC Outstanding Achievement Award.
NMCSD was the only Department of Defense Military Treatment Facility to earn this award in 2010.
“We were the first military cancer center to be awarded accreditation. We’re certainly the only center that has received two in six years and getting three is unprecedented for military medicine,” said Capt. (Dr.) Preston Gable, Hematology/Oncology department head.
The command cancer team also known as the Oncology Advisory Group (OAG) was awarded a three-year accreditation with commendation. The award recognizes an institution’s cancer program compliance with 36 standards. NMCSD’s OAG showed no deficiencies.
Every category NMCSD was assessed and graded on received a passing rating and received an outstanding rating in all standards that were eligible. This led to NMCSD earning the additional award of outstanding achievement.
The OAG is a multidisciplinary group including physicians from general surgery, medical and radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology and pathology. Also included are nurses, chaplain, dietician, staff from the tumor registry, quality management, social worker, and an American Cancer Society representative.
The cancer program surveys are a comprehensive evaluation of the entire scope, organization, and activity of a cancer program. The evaluation (which is voluntary) is conducted every three years on-site by experienced health care professionals who gather extensive performance information as the basis for evaluating compliance. There are five key elements surveyors look for during the evaluation: diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitation, support (i.e. counseling, hospice care, patient and family support) as and other clinical areas (i.e. oncology nursing, pain management and clinical research).
“We have four or five tumor boards here at the hospital, three of them meet weekly and others meet as needed or at least once a month, to talk about cancer cases,” said Gable. “To meet their [ACoS] standard we have to present 15 percent of cancer cases at the board. At our hospital we present 95 percent of new cancer cases at tumor board conferences.” According to Gable, the advantage of tumor board conferences is a group of doctors from various specialties review the pathology and imaging studies and then decide on a treatment plan through a collaborative discussion. According to their website, the COC was established by the American College of Surgeons in 1922. The COC Accreditation Program encourages hospitals, treatment centers, and other facilities to improve their quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs. These programs focus on prevention, early diagnosis, pretreatment evaluation, staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, surveillance for recurrent disease, support services, and end-of-life care.
By undertaking the evaluation, NMCSD demonstrated their commitment to quality care, ongoing improvement and public accountability for medical care provided to active duty service members and beneficiaries.
“People don’t frequently give the military credit for being really good and this is one more way we can put ourselves on par with other organizations across the country. Being accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer lets our beneficiaries know that we are on par,” said Gable.
This is the third evaluation for NMCSD, previous evaluations and accreditations took place in 2004 and 2007.
For more information on Naval Medical Center San Diego visit: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Pages/default.aspx