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The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons granted the University of New Mexico Hospital Cancer Program a three-year Accreditation with Commendation. “The clinical component of the Cancer Program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer,” explains Richard Lauer, MD, FACP, and UNM Cancer Center Chief Medical Officer. “A minority of centers receive Commendation. We received a maximum three years’ Accreditation with Commendation.”
Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the Commission on Cancer accredits hospital cancer programs. It is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients. The Commission on Cancer includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and 49 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.
The Commission on Cancer grants accreditation for one, two or three years under its program. Its 36 standards ensure that patients receiving care at an accredited facility will have access to a multidisciplinary team that coordinates the best treatment options; state-of-the art services and equipment; information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options; access to cancer-related information; and quality care close to home. The Commission on Cancer rigorously monitors each hospital’s quality of care through monthly surveys, data requests or documentation reviews. “We reapplied for this accreditation to make sure that we continue to measure ourselves against national standards,” says Donald Whitehead, UNM Cancer Center Chief Operating Officer.
To receive Commendation, a cancer program must demonstrate a Commendation level of compliance in one or more of the standards while complying with all the other standards during a site evaluation by a physician surveyor. The UNM Hospital Cancer Program received commendation in four areas: quality criteria compliance, clinical trial accrual, prevention and early detection, and cancer-related quality improvements. The physician surveyor was particularly impressed with the Cancer Program’s clinical trials accrual rates and active community outreach program.
Dr. Lauer chairs the Cancer Committee that administers the Cancer Program under the authority of the Medical Executive Committee of UNM Hospital. The Cancer Program includes inpatient care at UNM Hospital and outpatient care at the UNM Cancer Center Treatment and Research Facility. The Cancer Committee manages the myriad multidisciplinary teams within the Cancer Program. Says Dr. Lauer, “As an academic healthcare delivery system, we are able to coordinate several specialties seamlessly, sometimes without our patients even being aware of it.” He adds, “this Accreditation with Commendation is a measure of the excellence of our Cancer Program and its commitment to the highest quality standards.”
About the UNM Cancer Center
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the state. One of just 67 NCI-designated cancer centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence, contributions to cancer research and delivery of medical advances to patients and their families. Annual federal and private funding of over $65 million supports the UNM Cancer Center’s research programs. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 65 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. It is home to New Mexico’s largest team of board-certified oncology physicians and research scientists, representing every cancer specialty and hailing from prestigious institutions such as MD Anderson, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Through its partnership with Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, the UNM Cancer Center brings world-class cancer care to the southern part of the state; its collaborative clinical programs in Santa Fe and Farmington serve northern New Mexico. The UNM Cancer Center also supports several community outreach programs to make cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment available to every New Mexican. Learn more at www.cancer.unm.edu.