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Naval Hospital Pensacola Earns Endoscopy Award

By: Jason Bortz, public affairs officer, Naval Hospital Pensacola , Navy News 
Published: 5/2/2018 8:49 AM

‚ÄčNAVAL HOSPITAL PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Pensacola (NHP) recently earned the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy's (ASGE) Award of Excellence through the ASGE Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program, April 30.

The certification is awarded to endoscopy units and medical facilities that demonstrate a commitment to specialized training and adherence to ASGE guidelines on privileging, quality assurance and infection control guidelines.

NHP is the only naval medical facility to receive the three year certification and joins the Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as the second military treatment facility to earn the certification.

To earn the certification, NHP had to meet certain qualifications that took almost two years to complete. Part of the qualification was to track colon polyps in 100 percent of colonoscopies performed at the hospital. Colon polyps are a small clump of cells that form on the lining of the colon that could potentially develop into colon cancer.

"Colon polyps are common and are usually found in 30 percent of men or 20 percent of women," said Lt. Cmdr. Brent Lacey, gastroenterologist at NHP. "Not all polyps will develop into cancer, but we will remove polyps as necessary during a colonoscopy."

Approximately 2,000 colonoscopies were performed at NHP in 2017 between the Gastrointestinal Clinic and General Surgery. According to Lacey, less than 1 percent of those procedures indicated signs of colon cancer.

"Like any cancer, it is best to catch colon cancer early because it can be treated," said Lacey. "Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women."

Earning the certification required a lot of extra work and tracking data. The results from the colonoscopies had to be accurate for patient safety and all abnormal results had to be documented. Since NHP was the first naval medical facility to apply for the certification, new policies and procedures had to be created.

"I've very proud of the work we did as a team to earn this certification," said Hospitalman Sara Van Haren, a corpsman in the Gastrointestinal Clinic.

According to the American Cancer Society, colonoscopies should be performed at the age of 50 for both men and women. Anyone with a family history of colon cancer should inform their physician during their next visit.

The Gastrointestinal Clinic and General Surgery can perform colonoscopies for all TRICARE beneficiaries, including TRICARE Select, but a referral from a primary care manager is required. TRICARE Select beneficiaries can check on the availability of colonoscopies and other services at NHP by contacting the Health Benefits Office at (850) 505-6916.

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