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UPMC Western Maryland earns National Accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons

March 6th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

The Commission on Cancer (CoC), a quality program of the American College of Surgeons has granted three-year accreditation to the Schwab Family Cancer Center at UPMC Western Maryland. To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet 34 CoC quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care. 

     “UPMC Western Maryland has a long history with the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer,” said Dr. Scott Watkins, UPMC Western Maryland Medical Director of Radiation Oncology and Chair of the Cancer Committee. “The guidelines of the CoC and the access to data as a benchmark for our program has helped us achieve new and vital standards in improving the care of cancer patients across many different diagnoses. Participation on in the CoC program is a vital method for disseminating the best of care throughout the country.”

    Because it is a CoC-accredited cancer center, The Schwab Family Cancer Center at UPMC Western Maryland 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 results in improved patient care. “As the Chair of the Cancer Care Committee, I am especially proud of all of my colleagues who devote countless hours to our patients and their care,” Dr. Watkins said.

     “Continuous quality oversight and improvement have been critical to the ongoing success of our oncology program,’ said UPMC Western Maryland President Barry Ronan. “Participating in the accreditation process of the Commission on Cancer is instrumental in maintaining our excellence in cancer care for our patients throughout the region.”

    The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for UPMC Western Maryland to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis,  cancer staging, optimal treatment,  rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care.      

    When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling, and 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 cancer survivors’ quality of life.

    Like all CoC-accredited facilities, The Schwab Family Cancer Center at UPMC Western Maryland maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base, a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society.     

    This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care. CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.  

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