Upstate News

July 6, 2003
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Cancer care at University Hospital earns key accreditation from the American College of Surgeons

Cancer care at University Hospital has earned a key accreditation from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (COC).

The accreditation signifies that University Hospital meets the standards set by the COC for quality multidisciplinary cancer care delivered in the hospital setting. The accreditation was awarded after an indepth review—including an on-site evaluation—of University Hospital’s cancer-related services, including screening, imaging, radiation oncology, medical oncology, support services, research, rehabilitation and prevention. The COC also offered a commendation for University Hospital’s strong clinical trials program.

University Hospital—the only hospital in Syracuse to receive the COC accreditation— earned the highest score possible when 47 mandatory standards were reviewed. Only 27 percent of approved hospitals received such a score.

“While no one can guarantee outcomes for cancer patients, the accreditation from the Commission on Cancer confirms that our patients receive the best in diagnosis and treatment,” said oncologist Sheila Lemke, M.D., who chairs University Hospital’s cancer committee.

According to the commission, the accreditation can be extremely valuable to hospitals since statistics show that 82 percent of newly diagnosed patients with cancer are treated in the programs accredited by the COC.

University Hospital, which treats more than 14,000 cancer patients a year, offers a wide variety of oncology services, including multidisciplinary assessments for pediatric, breast orthopedic, head and neck, and gynecologic cancers. It also offers formal programs for cancers for lung, brain, thyroid and genitourinary cancers.

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1922, the multi-disciplinary Commission on Cancer sets standards for quality multidisciplinary cancer care delivered primarily in hospital settings; surveys hospitals to assess compliance with those standards; collects standardized and quality data from approved hospitals to measure treatment patterns and outcomes; and uses the data to evaluate hospital provider performance and develop effective educational interventions to improve cancer care outcomes at the national and local level.

Nationally, about 1,500 facilities—or one in four of those eligible—have earned COC approval of their cancer programs.

The three-year accreditation is up for renewal in 2006.

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