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April 27, 2010 > Washington Hospital's community cancer program recognized

Washington Hospital's community cancer program recognized

Submitted By Christopher Brown

Washington Hospital's comprehensive Cancer Program became one of only four programs in California for 2009 to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons (CoC) for the high level of care provided by the program.

Late last year, the program was re-certified by the CoC and earned a three-year accreditation. The Outstanding Achievement Award is a distinction that is earned by programs that place themselves above the rest of the programs accredited by CoC. In fact, fewer than 35 percent of the programs surveyed nationally receive this prestigious award.

"We are proud to be one of only four hospitals in California and one of 82 hospitals in the country to receive this award. This could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of many physicians and caregivers affiliated with this program and demonstrates that the residents of the District have access to the most advanced and comprehensive treatments available," said Bernard Stewart, DDS, president of Washington Township Health Care District. "When dealing with a diagnosis like cancer and the rigid schedule that's often associated with its treatment, I think it's comforting to those who live here that they don't need to travel great distances to receive the best care."

Each year, Washington Hospital treats more than 700 new cancer patients. For these new patients as well as those currently receiving treatment, the Outstanding Achievement Award provides assurance to them that care is being delivered by some of the best caregivers in the nation using the most advanced technology.

"Everyone worked very hard for the three-year accreditation of the Cancer Program and the Outstanding Achievement Award reflects the added efforts of all who are associated with the Hospital's cancer programs," said Vandana Sharma, MD, medical oncologist, and chair of Washington Hospital's Cancer Committee. "The outstanding achievement award validates what we've known for quite some time, that Washington's cancer services are the best available anywhere in the state. Patients getting treated locally can rest assured that the best care is right here in Fremont."

Washington Hospital's Community Cancer Program received the three-year accreditation following an on site evaluation by a physician surveyor during which the Hospital demonstrated commendation level compliance with one or more standards that represent the full scope of the cancer program. This includes cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach and quality improvement.

The accreditation program sets quality of care standards for cancer programs and reviews 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.

The mission of the Community Cancer Program is to offer people with cancer and their families the most effective diagnostic services, treatment, information and support possible as they make the journey through cancer treatment. Because high-quality care and excellent patient outcomes are the top priority, cancer program staff monitors, measures and continuously strives to improve services. At the same time, guided by the patient first ethic, program staff focuses on providing comfort, privacy and treating each individual with dignity.

Washington Hospital's Community Cancer Program includes screening and early detection programs, surgical oncology, medical oncology, tumor board, tumor registry, clinical research, oncology nursing, social services, support services and the Washington Radiation Oncology Center.

The core functions of the Commission on Cancer (CoC) include setting standards for quality, multidisciplinary cancer patient care; surveying facilities to evaluate compliance with 36 CoC standards; collecting standardized 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.

(For more information, please contact Christopher Brown, director of Community Relations, Washington Hospital Healthcare System, (510) 791-3417.)

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