The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted Three-Year Accreditation to the cancer program at Hallmark Health System. 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.

Because it is a CoC-accredited cancer center, Hallmark Health 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.

“We are pleased and honored to have been acknowledged by the Commission on Cancer for our comprehensive cancer services,” said Steven Sbardella, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Hallmark Health. “CoC accreditation is the result of our commitment to providing high-quality, technologically-advanced compassionate care to our patients.”

The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for Hallmark Health 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 followup 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, Hallmark Health maintains a cancer registry and contributes 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.

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