The Cancer Program at St. Bernards Medical Center has been accredited with commendation by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as a comprehensive community cancer program. (The “with commendation” signifies that the St. Bernards program exceeds standard requirements.)
To earn three-year accreditation, a program must meet or exceed 34 quality care standards and must be evaluated every three years to ensure it maintains excellence in comprehensive patient-centered care.
As a CoC-accredited cancer center, St. Bernards takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership has been proven to result in improved patient care.
“This assessment of our cancer program by an outside organization and the awarding of accreditation with commendation speaks to the fact that our cancer patients receive the highest level of care,” says Dr. Mazen Khalil, oncologist/hematologist at St. Bernards Clopton Clinic who serves as the St. Bernards cancer liaison physician with the Commission on Cancer.
“We were recognized for having a program that surpasses basic requirements of accreditation. That should indicate to our patients that they will receive the very highest quality of care here, drawing on the knowledge and skills of many different healthcare specialists.”
The CoC accreditation program provides a framework for St. Bernards continually to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs focusing on the full spectrum of cancer care – prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease and end-of-life care.
The CoC stresses that when patients receive care at a facility they have accredited, those patients also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling and other patient-centered services, including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors.
Like all CoC-accredited facilities, St. Bernards maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base, a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society and the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed and used to explore trends in cancer care.
The American College of Surgeons estimates that more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2015. There are more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, representing only 30 percent of all hospitals. Those CoC-accredited facilities diagnose and/or treat more than 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients.
Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving patient outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care.
St. Bernards Medical Center is a 438-bed acute care hospital that serves as the referral center for patients in 23 counties in Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. It is the largest trauma center in this quadrant of the state and has centers of excellence in cancer care, heart care, women’s and children’s services and senior services. St. Bernards developed the first comprehensive cancer center in the region 25 years ago, allowing patients to receive the finest care while remaining close to home.
In the summer, St. Bernards Clopton Clinic Hematology, Oncology was recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) Certification Program of the American Society of Clinical Oncology by receiving three-year certification as a practice that meets the highest standards for cancer care.
Dr. John Allgood, radiation oncologist with St. Bernards Cancer Care, serves as the cancer committee chair at the medical center.