Local cancer programs earn accreditation

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted Three-Year Accreditation with silver level commendation to the cancer programs at Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Crosby. 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.

As CoC-accredited cancer centers, both Riverwood and CRMC take 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.

Riverwood and CRMC have been partnering to provide oncology care since 2010, when they began offering oncology care services in affiliation with the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute®. The two health systems share the services of Ron Halvorson, MD, who is board certified in oncology and internal medicine with 23 years of experience in caring for patients with cancer and blood disorders.

“This is an exciting step for Riverwood and the cancer patients we serve,” says Chad Cooper, Riverwood CEO. “Delivering outstanding quality and compassionate care for cancer patients has long been a high priority for us and now we have a stamp of approval that we are meeting rigorous national standards.”

“The accreditation affirms CRMC’s commitment to provide our patients with cancer care that is on the leading edge of current research, technology and best practices,” adds John Solheim, CRMC CEO. “Our physicians and staff look forward to strengthening our cancer care through the CoC Accreditation Program.”

The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for Riverwood and CRMC to improve their 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, Riverwood and CRMC maintain a cancer registry and contribute data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society (ACS). 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.

ACS estimates that more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2013.  There are currently more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, representing 30 percent of all hospitals.  CoC-accredited facilities diagnose and/or treat more than 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients.  When cancer patients choose to seek care locally at a CoC-accredited cancer center, they are gaining access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home. The CoC provides the public with information on the resources, services, and cancer treatment experience for each CoC-accredited cancer program through the CoC Hospital Locator at http://www.facs.org/cancerprogram/index.html.

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. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons. For more information, visit: www.facs.org/cancer

About Riverwood Healthcare Center

Drawing on the expertise and compassion of its staff, Riverwood works collaboratively with experts in the oncology field to continuously improve the quality of services available to the communities it serves in Aitkin County and the Garrison/Lake Mille Lacs area. A multidisciplinary team supports oncology patients from diagnosis and treatment to care for cancer-related pain and palliative/hospice services. Team members include experienced physicians and nurses along with members from rehabilitation, nutrition, social work and others. A newly redesigned infusion center offers many patient-friendly features, including a private entrance and five patient bays that offer privacy and space for a family member or friend. For more information, go to www.riverwoodhealthcare.org and click on Services, Cancer/Oncology.

About Cuyuna Regional Medical Center

CRMC has provided healthcare to the region for nearly 50 years. More than 930 physicians, nurses, health care professionals and support staff work together to provide patients and their families with positive, proactive, patient focused, and family centered care. The oncology care team includes experienced physicians, nurses, social workers, nutrition and rehabilitation staff, and others. A nurse dedicated to oncology care is available to assist patients and families through a navigation process to address health care barriers and assure continuity of care. Together, the team provides cancer patients with survivorship plans, genetic services, psychosocial screening, and ongoing support. For information on providers and services, visit www.cuyunamed.org

About the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute®

Virginia Piper Cancer Institute® provides comprehensive care through all aspects of cancer prevention, early detection and treatment to help individuals maintain quality of life and find ways to live with and beyond cancer. The Institute was founded in 1990 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Clinical experts and experienced caregivers provide oncology care and services across the Allina Health system, and offer expert support to various affiliate locations. Virginia Piper Cancer Institute® is part of Allina Health, a not-for-profit health care system, dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.allinahealth.org