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SMH Receives Cancer Accreditation

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted Three Year Accreditation with Commendation to the Cancer Program at Stephens Memorial Hospital.


A facility receives a three-year accreditation with commendation following the on-site evaluation by a physician surveyor during which the facility demonstrates a Commendation level of compliance with one or more standards that represent the full scope of cancer program (cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach, and quality improvement.)  In addition a facility receives a compliance rating for all other standards.


Ola Melhus, MD, Chairman of Cancer Committee, Stephens Memorial Hospital shares about the designation, "I am very pleased that Stephens Memorial Hospital again has received the Commissions on Cancer's Accreditation Award with Commendation.  This recognition is a reflection of the quality of our program's comprehensive and multidisciplinary patient care.  It ensures patients that they are going to receive the very best in today's cancer treatment right here at Stephens Memorial Hospital."


Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer (MORE)

patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care.  Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and 42 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.


The core functions of the CoC include setting standards for quality, multidisciplinary cancer patient care; surveying facilities to evaluate compliance with the 36 CoC standards; collecting standardized and quality and quality data from accredited facilities; and using the data to develop effective educational interventions to improve cancer care outcomes at the national, state, and local level.


The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that more than 1.4 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2009.  There are currently more than 1,400 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the US and Puerto Rico, representing close to 25 % of all hospitals.  This 25% of hospitals diagnose and or treat 80% of newly diagnosed cancer patients each year.  In addition, a national network of more than 1,600 volunteer Cancer Liaison Physicians provide leadership and support for the CoC Accreditation Program and other CoC activities at these local facilities.


The Accreditation Program, a component of the CoC, sets quality of care standards for cancer programs and reviews the programs to ensure they conform to those standards.  Accreditation by the CoC is given only to those facilities that have voluntarily committed to providing the highest quality cancer care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance.  To maintain accreditation, facilities with CoC-accredited cancer programs must undergo an on-site review every three years.


Receiving care at a CoC-accredited cancer program ensures that a patient will have access to:

•·         Comprehensive care, including a range of state of the art services and equipment

•·         a multispecialty, team approach to coordinate the best treatment options

•·         information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options

•·         access to cancer-related information, education, and support

•·         a cancer registry that collects data on type and stage of cancers and treatment and results and offers lifelong patient follow-up

•·         ongoing monitors and improvement of care and most importantly

•·         Quality care close to home.

Cancer patient data are reported by each CoC-accredited cancer program to the CoC's National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint CoC/American Cancer Society program.  The NCDB currently contains patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and treatment and outcomes information for more than 18 million cancer patients diagnosed and treated at hospital cancer programs in the US between 1985 and 2004.  These data account for approximately two-thirds of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the US each year.


NCDB data is regularly used to monitor and improve the quality of patient care delivered in CoC-accredited cancer programs.  The CoC requires programs to implement quality improvement initiatives that promote the delivery of quality, multi-disciplinary cancer care and lead to ongoing educational interventions with local providers in the CoC-accredited cancer programs.


Through an exclusive partnership with the American Cancer Society, the CoC provides the public with information on the resources, services, and cancer treatment experiences for each CoC-accredited cancer program.  This information is shared with the public on the American Cancer Society's Web site at and through the American Cancer Society's National Cancer information Center at 1-800-ACS-2345.


Stephens Memorial Hospital is an affiliate of Western Maine Health, which is a member of MaineHealth.  Visit Western Maine Health on the Internet at




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