Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s Cancer Program Accredited with Commendation

BENNINGTON — Patients seeking the best in cancer care look for programs accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS). The cancer program at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) recently received renewed accreditation with commendation. Applying for and maintaining this accreditation is a voluntary commitment that ensures the patients to have access to the full scope of services required to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate, and support patients and their families.

"The accreditation shows that our cancer program is dedicated to providing top quality care to our patients," stated Dr. Orion Howard, medical director of the cancer center. "Our cancer program continues to offer comprehensive cancer care services that are close to home."

To qualify for accreditation, cancer programs must pass a rigorous examination of 36 standards. These standards pertain to quality and thoroughness of cancer care. CoC 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.

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 level of 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.

The cancer program 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.

"To receive commendation on top of our accreditation places the cancer center among the best community cancer programs in New England," stated Thomas Dee, President and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care. "This sets us at a level of expertise that not all cancer centers can offer."

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 (802) 447-5017.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is a non-profit community health system made up of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, the VNA & Hospice of SVHC, the SVMC Northshire Campus, the SVMC Deerfield Valley Campus, and other medical practices. As a non-profit, SVHC exists solely for the benefit of the communities it serves and depends on donations of all sizes to help it achieve its reputation for excellence and provide care for all who seek it regardless of their ability to pay.


Photo caption: A dedicated oncology team, including the cancer center medical director, Dr. Orion Howard (center) meet to review and discuss patient files to evaluate each patient's specific situation and progress. The team routinely meets as part of the voluntary commitment for accreditation in providing quality cancer care to patients.