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December 16, 2009 > Washington Hospital achieves first national breast center certification

Washington Hospital achieves first national breast center certification

Submitted By Christopher Brown

Washington Hospital today announced its latest achievement, a three-year/full accreditation designation of its Breast Health Program from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. Washington Hospital's Breast Health Program is the only program in Northern California to hold this distinction. With the recent news about changing recommendations for screening mammograms, it's more important than ever for women to access the best care and advice possible.

"As a community hospital, it is truly an extraordinary thing to have our services be industry leaders. This latest recognition is a testament to the hard work of a truly talented and dedicated group of physicians, nurses and support staff who, working together, here at Washington Hospital are creating a facility that not only serves the needs of our residents, but does so at a level second to none," said Nancy Farber, CEO.

"It is only fitting, since we were one of the first hospitals in the area to develop a center dedicated to the care of women, that we have become the first nationally accredited breast center in Northern California and one of only four in all of California," says Dr. William Dugoni, medical director of Washington Hospital's Women's Health Program and co-chair of the Breast Health Committee. "We're extremely proud of this achievement because of what it means to the level of care we provide our community."

The Breast Health Program at Washington Hospital falls within the NAPBC's Pacific Region, which includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. It is the only accredited program between Bellingham, Washington and San Diego, California.

Accreditation by the NAPBC is only given to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance.

"This accreditation means that women treated at Washington Hospital will have access to the best breast care in the Bay Area," said Dr. Vandana B. Sharma, medical director of Washington Hospital's Cancer Genetics Program and co-chair of the Breast Health Committee. "Every patient treated at Washington Hospital is provided access to highly trained specialists who are experts in the detection and treatment of breast disease. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that women will have coordinated and up-to-date treatment."

During the survey process, the center must demonstrate compliance with standards established by the NAPBC for treating women who are diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease. The standards include proficiency in the areas of: center leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education, and quality improvement. A breast center that achieves NAPBC accreditation has demonstrated a firm commitment to offer its patients every significant advantage in their battle against breast disease.

"The Breast Health Program is just part of what is offered at Washington Hospital, which also has the Washington Women's Center and Outpatient Imaging Center that provide the full range of imaging services," says radiologist Dr. Mimi Lin, director of mammography at Washington Hospital. "In women requiring additional evaluation from a screening or diagnostic mammogram, we can expedite the needed procedures. If a biopsy is necessary, we can often have the diagnosis within a week of the original screening mammogram."

Receiving care at a NAPBC-accredited center ensures that a patient will have access to:
Comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services;
A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options; and
Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options.

Most importantly, though, it means quality breast care close to home.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that there would be 184,450 patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the Untied States in 2008. In addition, hundreds of thousands of women who will deal with benign breast disease this year will require medical evaluation for treatment options.

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