- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Cancer Care & Infusion Services were recently awarded additional three-year accreditation from the American College of Surgeons, Commission on Cancer.
More than 1,500 accredited cancer programs in the United States treat nearly 70 percent of recently diagnosed U.S. cancer patients annually, according to the American College of Surgeons website.
“Getting the accreditation from the Commission on Cancer is important to us because it lets the people in the community know that we perform quality cancer care,” said MaryLou Watson, vice president for nursing at the hospital. Programs are subjected to an evaluation process every three years in order to maintain accreditation.
“It’s an entirely voluntary process, and very in-depth,” Watson said. “A surveyor comes on site, measuring standards by reviewing pathology reports, patient records and things like that to make sure that we’re not only doing inpatient and outpatient services, but also working to educate the community as a whole about cancer.”
“We’re measured against a national standard, and we ranked the highest for the care that we provide,” said Joan Popielski, director for CCIS at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, who cited diagnostic x-rays; biopsies; oncology consultations and treatments; blood transfusions; community cancer education; and community cancer screenings as among the services offered at the hospital.
Nearly 200 newly diagnosed cancer patients are seen annually at the hospital. Patients biopsied at other institutions can also opt to receive treatment at MedStar St. Mary’s, she said, adding to the total number of cancer patients seen annually at the hospital.
“Those aren’t included in our total numbers, so truly there are a lot more new cases than just that 200 base,” Popielski said.
The commission also awarded CCIS three commendations for superior compliance in prevention and early detection; timeframe of abstractions; and adhering to the College of American Pathologists guidelines.
“The most important thing that patients and the people in our community need to realize is that with this accreditation and these commendations we are effectively able to offer the same types of treatments here that they may be doing at larger institutions like Johns Hopkins or Georgetown,” Watson said. “If there is a type of treatment that we cannot provide for the patient, however, we offer referrals on site, but I think it’s important that patients know that they can get the same high-quality care close to home.”