Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center Accredited with Commendation

18 August 2008
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Kevin Robinson
(802) 447-5003

BENNINGTON — Patients seeking the best in cancer care look for programs accredited by the American College of Surgeons (ACoS). Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center recently received renewed accreditation with commendation. Only one in four cancer programs in the country are accredited by ACoS. Even fewer receive commendation, the highest level of accreditation.

"This accreditation is the gold standard of cancer care," explained Dr. Orion Howard, director of medical oncology. "Receiving commendation on top of our accreditation places the cancer center among the best community cancer programs nationwide."

To qualify for accreditation, cancer programs must pass a rigorous examination of 36 standards. These standards pertain to quality and thoroughness of cancer care. ACoS accreditation ensures that cancer care is comprehensive. To be approved, cancer programs must include prevention, early diagnosis, pretreatment evaluation, staging, optimal treatment, and rehabilitation. In addition, they must provide checks for the return of disease, support services, and end-of-life care. Approved programs also must demonstrate that surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists communicate regularly about patient care.

Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center provides patients access to clinical trials. Through them, patients have access to the very latest treatments. Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center works with the National Cancer Institute and drug companies to offer hundreds of trials. Many are the same treatments found at major cancer centers throughout the country.

According to ACoS, five elements are key to the success of a Commission-approved cancer program:

  1. Clinical services provide state-of-the-art care for cancer patients.
  2. A cancer committee leads the program.
  3. Cancer conferences allow patient consultation and contribute to physician education.
  4. The quality improvement program is used to evaluate and improve patient outcomes.
  5. The cancer registry and database is used to monitor quality of care.

"Approval by the American College of Surgeons demonstrates what we and our patients already know… our cancer center provides the best care possible in our setting," explained Alan Blier, cancer center administrator. "It is unusual for a small community hospital to have such a fantastic cancer program available. This program is a wonderful resource for Bennington and the surrounding area."

As part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care's not-for-profit family, Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center is supported in part by the generosity of donors. To make a donation call, Southwestern Vermont Health Care at 447-5017.

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