Accreditation: YES!

By: Chuck DeGooyer, CEO, Tri-Cities Cancer Center

Your Tri-Cities Cancer Center has pursued and successfully achieved two very important accreditations in the past two years. Accreditation is a significant undertaking: planning, process change, validating, auditing, training and educating, and commitment to providing the highest level of quality.

But why do we choose to put so much energy and resources into these accreditations? It’s all about our patients and providing them the very best of care. There is considerable evidence to show that accreditation programs improve the process of care provided in health care organizations. Additional studies have shown accreditation programs of subspecialties, like cancer care, improve clinical outcomes1. Therefore, it should be no surprise that we chose two of the most stringent and respected accreditations available in our industry.

The first accreditation we achieved is our ASTRO Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx). The American Society of Radiation Oncology announced its APEx accreditation program in 2014, but the program details were not available until 2015. The opportunity to measure our program against the APEx standards of performance was, and remains, very exciting to us. The accreditation’s focus on quality, safety and continuous improvement strategies is philosophically in concert with our mission, vision and values. As soon as the application process opened, we began the arduous process of accreditation. Early in 2016, we became the first cancer center in the nation to achieve APEx accreditation. We are still the only facility in the Pacific Northwest with this coveted accreditation.

Our next pursuit was the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) accreditation. This program, which focuses on shortening time to treatment and improving outcomes is administered by the American College of Surgeons.

NAPBC accreditation is only awarded to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast cancer care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance. A Breast Center that achieves NAPBC accreditation has demonstrated a firm commitment to offer its patients every significant advantage in their battle against breast disease.

Our NAPBC accredited Breast Center is a collaborative effort between the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, our three owner hospitals – Kadlec, Lourdes Health and Trios Health, and our partnership with outstanding local physicians. Over 30 area physicians and ancillary staff, specializing in breast cancer, continually partner across these organizations to provide the best breast cancer care available.

This partnership takes place as these breast cancer treatment professionals come together at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center’s accredited Breast Center twice a month to review patient cases and make recommendations for care. This is referred to as a multidisciplinary cancer conference.

Dr. Laurie Evans, Medical Director for our Breast Center is quoted as saying, “I am so very proud of our medical team, which spans specialties and hospital systems. By coming together, we have created world-class cancer care right here in our community where patients can receive comprehensive quality care minutes from their homes.”

A principal element of our NAPBC Breast Center is our newly launched Survivorship Clinic. Our Survivorship Clinic assists patients in achieving the best possible quality of life after treatment. We help patients manage and identify side effects of treatment; discuss potential long-term complications from treatment; educate patients on how to avoid, as well as detect, a cancer recurrence; and encourage the development of healthy habits for overall health and well-being. Our Survivorship Clinic provides the bridge between a patient’s oncology team and their primary care provider.

Our APEx and NAPBC accreditations substantiate our commitment to provide world-class cancer care right here in our community. We have been able to achieve nationally recognized excellence in cancer care by employing world-class talent and closely partnering with our three hospital owners, Kadlec, Lourdes Health and Trios Health.

Our community deserves the best. You, your family, friends and neighbors can be confident in the cancer treatment you receive here at home. My commitment to you, on behalf of our team and partners, is to continually deliver the best cancer care found anywhere. We are your Tri-Cities Cancer Center.

1. Alkhenizan & Shaw, Impact of Accreditation on the Quality of Healthcare Services: a Systematic Review of the Literature, Ann Saudi Med. 2011 Jul-Aug; 31(4): 407–416.

Pictured: Our medical team which includes over 30 area physicians and ancillary staff from Kadlec, Lourdes Health and Trios Health, who have partnered with the Tri-Cities Cancer Center to create an NAPBC accredited breast center. Pictured with patient Shelly Jesser (front, center).

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