March 14, 2023
CHICAGO: The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Children’s Surgery Verification (CSV) Quality Improvement Program recently verified its first Level I specialty children’s center in oncology and its first Level II children’s hospital, demonstrating the broad reach of the program to hospitals of various levels and specialties.
In February, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) met all ACS CSV requirements to be verified as a Level I specialty children’s surgery center in oncology; in late January, Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center met all requirements to be verified as a Level II children’s hospital. The accomplishments recognize both hospitals’ commitment to meeting the highest standards of care for children undergoing surgery.
“An estimated 4 million children undergo surgical procedures in hospitals across the United States each year. The CSV program was designed to optimize the care of pediatric patients so that hospitals can deliver the best care for children undergoing surgery,” said Clifford Y. Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, FACS, Director, ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. “These verifications demonstrate the commitment of Palm Beach Children’s Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to providing pediatric surgical patients with high-quality, coordinated care as well as supportive services and resources addressing the full continuum of care for children in their communities.”
The CSV program was developed to improve the quality of children’s surgical care by creating a system that allows for a prospective match of every child’s individual surgical needs with a care environment that has optimal pediatric resources. The program is based upon recognized standards meant to achieve high-quality patient outcomes for children’s surgical care regardless of location in a community hospital, stand-alone children’s hospital, specialty hospital, or a children’s hospital within a hospital.
There are different levels of verification — including Levels I-III and specialty oncology and musculoskeletal levels — depending on the expected scope of services of the hospital. The level of verification depends on many factors, including the types of procedures the hospital is equipped to perform, patient volume, personnel, and complex multispecialty coordination. Across the country, 54 other children’s hospitals have obtained Level I verification through the CSV program, and one hospital has obtained Level I verification as a specialty children’s surgery center in musculoskeletal health (Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California).
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: First Level I specialty children’s surgery center in oncology
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, located in New York, was officially verified by the ACS as the first Level I specialty children’s surgery center in oncology in February 2023. A children’s surgery verification Level I specialty oncology hospital is a highly specialized hospital that specifically treats pediatric surgical patients with oncological diagnoses and related conditions. A specialty oncology center targets these conditions using differentiated treatments in the areas of chemotherapy, radiation, surgical interventions, and immunotherapy.
“We are committed to delivering exceptional care and positive outcomes for our pediatric and adolescent patients undergoing surgical procedures. It is an honor to receive the very first ACS Children’s Surgery Verification in oncology, which provides added assurance to the patients and families we care for, as well as MSK staff, and the greater hospital community, that we are a center of excellence for surgical care,” said J. Ted Gerstle, MD, medical director of children’s surgery and chief of the pediatric surgery service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
MSK Kids, the pediatric oncology program at MSK, delivers care within disease-oriented services, featuring a depth of subspecialized expertise in specific cancer types, including sarcomas, neuroblastoma, rare solid tumors, brain tumors, and hematologic malignancies. Additional services such as the Pediatric Translational Medicine Program, clinical genetics service, clinical trials, and survivorship program further enhance patient care. There are 14 surgical subspecialties within MSK, all of which can treat children and adolescents with cancer.
The hospital performs approximately 2,500 surgical procedures per year on patients less than 18 years of age and approximately 800 surgical procedures per year on young adult patients (18-24) with pediatric cancers.
Palm Beach Children’s Hospital: First Level II children’s surgery center
Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, located in West Palm Beach, Florida, was officially verified by the ACS as the first Level II children’s surgery center in late January 2023.
“It brings us great pride that Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, the historically go-to hospital for the sickest of children in Palm Beach County, is now recognized as delivering care commensurate with the standards of excellence set by the American College of Surgeons. This verification underscores our commitment to the quality and multidisciplinary approach to the care of the children of our community, who can be assured that we are consistently pushing to provide the best outcomes to our pediatric surgical patients,” said Dr. Anne Fischer, MD, PhD, FACS, medical director of children’s surgery at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital. “We chose to become verified because our hospital’s mission is to deliver the highest quality healthcare services to our community, which includes our pediatric surgical patients and their families. The ACS ensures that the hospital’s resources and pediatric-focused care correlate best with continually improving the outcomes for children with surgical needs.”
According to the standards, a Level II children’s surgery center is a hospital capable of caring for pediatric patients with many complex issues, including common pediatric anomalies and diseases, but may have a more limited scope of service than a Level I hospital. The verification recognizes Palm Beach Children’s Hospital’s dedication to achieving high standards at every level of surgical care for children, from administration to professional services.
“Becoming a Level II facility requires an introspective look at the scope of services and a commitment to strengthening internal programs and training for children’s hospital professionals as well as establishing relationships with centers that can provide services not available at the center,” said Mary E. Fallat, MD, FACS, lead site visitor and the Co-Chair of the ACS Verification Committee. “This emphasis on a tiered approach to quality care for kids includes enhancing the great communication that is key to team building across the continuum of care.”
Raising the standards of quality
The CSV program, which launched in 2017, is based on other nationally recognized ACS quality improvement programs that have measurably improved surgical quality and have prevented complications, reduced costs, and saved lives.
Research has shown the value of such quality improvement programs. Recently, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons found that for Level I children’s hospitals, participating in the CSV program cut hospital stays by more than a day, and significantly curbed narcotics use in children who had major operations for traumatic femur fractures.
Verified centers must meet specific criteria and standards that are developed by the ACS and grounded in evidence-based scientific methods that support the recommendations. These CSV standards ensure that children facing surgery receive care under a multidisciplinary program with quality improvement and safety processes, data collection, and appropriate resources provided to them as patients at the hospital.
Learn more about the ACS CSV program.
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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 84,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. “FACS” designates a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 87,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. "FACS" designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.