American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

April 2014 CoC Source

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CoC News

Member Organizations Share Cancer Care Initiatives

Commission on Cancer (CoC) membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and representatives from 52 Member Organizations. Each year, these 52 organizations complete Cancer Care Initiatives templates and submit them to the CoC for publication and distribution. These Cancer Care Initiatives include snapshots of each of the organizations along with highlights of their current initiatives and initiatives planned for the coming year. This compilation serves to facilitate networking and collaboration amongst these member groups. The Cancer Care Initiatives can be found on the CoC website at 2014 Cancer Care Initiatives and will be updated following the CoC Annual Meetings on May 1-2. CoC Member Organizations are a rich source of resources for CoC-accredited programs. These Cancer Care Initiatives are your guide to the programs and services from these CoC member groups.

Advocacy Update

CoC Signs on to Appropriations Letter

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) recently signed on to a letter that urges appropriators to provide the Labor, Health and Human Services (LaborHHS), Education Subcommittee with a fiscal year (FY) 2015 “302(b)” allocation of $163.6 billion—the FY 2010 level. The letter also urges Congress to end sequestration and continue to work to find a balanced, meaningful approach to deficit reduction. A high LaborHHS allocation is the best way to secure more funding for cancer research, prevention, and nursing programs.

Accreditation Corner

Certificate of Accreditation for 2013

The CoC has noted that several cancer programs that have been surveyed since January 2013 have not requested their Certificate of Accreditation.

If your cancer program has been surveyed since January 2013 and received “Full Accreditation Award” (without Contingency), your Cancer Program Administrator (CPA) should monitor his or her e-mail account (including spam folders) for an e-mail from the CoC Accreditation and Standards Team at This e-mail includes a username and password for ordering your cancer program’s complimentary Certificate of Accreditation through The Award Group, Inc. (the CoC’s exclusive award distributor) website.

Please note that only the CPA is provided with log-in information and access to The Award Group website. To be able to order your program’s certificate, it is essential that CPA contact information in CoC Datalinks is up to date and accurate. CPAs can also order certificate frames, CoC-accredited program banners, and other promotional items.

If the CPA at your recently accredited program has not received an e-mail with log-in credentials to use the ordering site, please contact Jamie George so that the e-mail with the username and password can be resent.

Update Your Contact Information

Due to important e-mails (including survey and Performance Report notifications) from the CoC, it is crucial that all accreditation facilities provide current and accurate contact information for key members of their cancer programs.

Cancer programs are responsible for maintaining their own contact information in the CoC Datalinks. Please do not use anyone's login and password that is not assigned to you.

Updating Contact Information

  1. Log into CoC Datalinks. Click on the “Manage Staff Contacts” link in the Main Facility Activity menu.
  2. Ensure that all names, titles, and e-mail addresses are up to date and correct.
  3. Remember to remove staff members who are no longer part of the cancer program.

E-mail addresses that are incorrect and result in error messages to the CoC as no longer functioning will be manually removed from the database.

If you have questions about CoC Datalinks, please e-mail


Receiving Commendation for RQRS Participation

Programs surveyed starting in 2014 are eligible to receive commendation for actively participating in the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS). Active participation means that the program has completed enrollment and is making at least quarterly data submissions for all primary sites with quality measures (currently breast, colon, and rectum). RQRS accepts cases diagnosed since January 1, 2008, through the most recent in your cancer registry. However, programs may elect to submit cases diagnosed since January 1, 2012, through the most recent in your cancer registry, if you do not want the ability to view as much retrospective data.

Current requirements for programs seeking commendation for RQRS participation during their next survey year are:

  • 2014 surveys: Program must be enrolled in RQRS and at a minimum submit first quarterly data before the time of survey. Once enrolled, all programs must adhere to the terms and conditions of RQRS to receive commendation for standard 5.2.
  • 2015 and 2016 surveys: Must be enrolled in RQRS and at a minimum submit first quarterly data during the 2014 calendar year. Once enrolled, all programs must adhere to RQRS terms and conditions to receive commendation for standard 5.2.

Participant User File Application Due April 20

The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) 2014 Request for Applications (RFA) deadline for the Participant User File (PUF) to investigators associated with the CoC-accredited programs is April 20. Awarded PUFs will be organ-site specific, per the research interests of the successful investigator, and include cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2012. Awarded PUFs are anticipated to be released to investigators in the third quarter of 2014.

The NCDB PUF is a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant data file containing cases submitted to NCDB. The PUF contains de-identified patient level data that do not identify hospitals, health care providers, or patients as agreed to in the Business Associate Agreement that each CoC-accredited program has signed with the College. PUFs are designed to provide investigators associated with CoC-accredited cancer programs with a data resource they can use to review and advance the quality of care delivered to cancer patients through analyses of cases reported to the NCDB. NCDB PUFs are only available upon successful review of the application.

Interested investigators must have assigned credentials to access CoC Datalinks. The steps required to obtain a username and password for CoC Datalinks are outlined at:

Note: Interested investigators must be assigned the NCDB PUF Applicant role to have access to the NCDB PUF Application Manager. Please request your registrar or other person with Datalinks access to add your name to the “Manage Staff Contacts” area of Datalinks with the role “NCDB PUF Applicant." Even if you are already listed with a different role, this must be added for access to the PUF area.

Read more about the NCDB PUF, including information on the RFA process, related supporting documents, variables available in the PUF (that is, Data Dictionary), and access to the NCDB PUF Application Manager.

Questions regarding the NCDB PUFs or the RFA process may be directed to NCDB technical staff at

Resources for Cancer Liaison Physicians

Fill Out Your State Chair Activity Report

We have had an excellent response from state chairs who have completed their 2013 activity reports. If you have not completed the 2013 activity report, please take a moment to fill it out. The report should take you only five to seven minutes to complete and is a good way to inform your American College of Surgeons chapter and the American Cancer Society of all of the good things that you are doing in your state or region.

Education Programs and Resources

Registration Now Open for the CoC June Meetings - June 18-20, 2014

Two Programs—One Location
Get the information you need to meet the CoC standards and learn how you can achieve commendation for RQRS participation.

June 18, 2014
11 am–4 pm
“Strengthening Your Cancer Program…Utilizing the Rapid Quality Reporting System to Comply with the New Commendation Standard (5.2)”

Ensure your program’s compliance with the new commendation standard that requires programs, from initial enrollment and throughout the three-year accreditation period, to participate in RQRS. This includes the submission of eligible cases for all valid performance measures, and adherence to RQRS terms and conditions. Whether you are new to using RQRS or an experienced user, this optional half-day program will help you integrate RQRS into your program making it a valuable addition to your quality improvement toolbox. ($250 on or before May 15, $300 after May 15) Lunch will be served at 11 am, with an Intro to RQRS from 11:15 – 11:45 am for those of you completely new to RQRS in need of a bit of basic training.

June 19–20, 2014
CoC Workshop “Strengthening Your Cancer Program…Enriching the Coordinators’ Role”

Plan now to join more than 300 of your peers and colleagues at the newly designed CoC Workshop, “Strengthening Your Cancer Program…Enriching the Coordinators’ Role.” This new education program, formerly known as Survey Savvy, provides a deep-dive into the important role that the various coordinators serve in the delivery of quality care for cancer patients. Hear experienced coordinators share their experiences and leave this program with the tools and resources you need to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your cancer committee. ($650 on or before May 15, $750 after May 15)

Visit the CoC Workshop web page for further meeting information, hotel information, and to register. Space is limited.

Please share this information with other members of your staff who would benefit from the information that is being presented. Team attendance is encouraged for the workshop.

News from ACoS Cancer Programs


New FIGO Rules in AJCC Staging System 8th Edition

The International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FIGO) has developed new staging rules for ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers.

These new cancer staging rules will be incorporated into the 8th Edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer’s (AJCC) Cancer Staging System.

Until the release of the AJCC Cancer Staging System, all nationally collected U.S. cancer statistics data for ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers must be based on the current AJCC Cancer Staging Manual (7th Edition).

Find out more information about the FIGO changes in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Visit the CAnswer Forum, where AJCC staff members are available to answer questions and provide clarifications.


Register TODAY for the NAPBC Workshop
Pursuing Excellence Through Accreditation

Friday, May 23
7:30 am–4:30 pm
Chicago, IL
Registration fee: $550

Register today for the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancer’s (NAPBC) full-day workshop Pursuing Excellence through Accreditation at the American College of Surgeons’ headquarters. This workshop will assist centers applying for accreditation as well as centers due for reaccreditation in 2014. Seating is limited and enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Register now to learn about what NAPBC surveyors look for during the survey.

NAPBC Exhibit Schedule

The NAPBC will exhibit at the following 2014 meetings:

American Society of Breast Surgeons
April 30–May 5
Las Vegas, NV

National Cancer Registrars Association
May 15–18
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
Nashville, TN

If you attend these meetings and have questions or wish to pick up an NAPBC Information Kit, stop by either of these exhibits.

News from the Oncology Community


Celebrate National Cancer Registrars Week

Cancer registrars throughout the world will join their colleagues, fellow medical professionals, and community leaders to observe the 18th annual National Cancer Registrars Week (NCRW), April 7–11. NCRW recognizes the important role that cancer registrars assume in capturing data that informs cancer research, prevention, and treatment programs.

Complimentary College of American Pathologists Webinar

A free College of American Pathologists (CAP) webinar is scheduled for April 10 at 2:00 pm (ET). Register for the Essentials of the Electronic CAP Checklist (eCC) for Cancer Registrars webinar to hear Samantha Spencer, MD, discuss the eCC in practice and its use in the registry; how the eCC relates to the CAP protocols; and the relationship of the eCC to the AJCC, CSv2, and the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-0-3). The webinar is free, but attendees must register.

Webinar on Coding the Grade Data Item

The National Cancer Registrars Association will offer a one-hour webinar on coding instructions for the grade data item on Wednesday, April 9, at 2:00 pm (ET). A group represented by the CoC, the National Program of Cancer Registries, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results reached a consensus on coding instructions for the grade data item effective for cases diagnosed January 1, 2014, and later. The webinar will outline the new consensus on the coding instructions and provide hands-on exercises.

Monthly Spotlight

American Head and Neck Society

The CoC regularly collaborates with more than 50 member organizations in its mission to provide quality cancer care. This month we focus on the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS).

In 1998, the AHNS became the largest organization in North America for the advancement of research and education in head and neck oncology. The merger of two societies, the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery and the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons, resulted in the American Head and Neck Society.

The contributions made by the two societies are significant in the history of surgery in the U.S. In 1954, Hayes Martin, MD, a surgeon considered by many as the “father of modern head and neck tumor surgery,” conceived the idea for the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons. The original purpose of the society was to exchange and advance scientific knowledge relevant to the surgery of head and neck tumors (exclusive of brain surgery) with an emphasis on cancer of the head and neck. Two years later, the American Society for Head and Neck Surgery was organized to “facilitate and advance knowledge relevant to surgical treatment of diseases of the head and neck, including reconstruction and rehabilitation; promote advancement of the highest professional and ethical standards as they pertain to the practice of major head and neck surgery; and to honor those who have made major contributions in the field of head and neck surgery, or have aided in its advancement.”

The new society remains dedicated to these common goals. The purpose of the AHNS is to promote and advance

  • The knowledge of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of neoplasms and other diseases of the head and neck
  • Research in diseases of the head and neck
  • The highest professional and ethical standards

Event Information

The year 2014 will mark 100 years since the world’s first head and neck cancer surgery service was established at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. To celebrate this milestone, the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies will hold its 5th World Congress in New York, July 26–30. The AHNS will host its annual meeting jointly with this World Congress. At this large, informative, and historic conference, experts and leaders from around the globe will present their work and celebrate a Century of Progress in Head and Neck Cancer.

The four-day conference will offer keynote addresses, panels, symposia, debates, video sessions, proffered papers, posters, instruction courses, breakfast sessions, and lunch with the professors, providing ample opportunity for individual interaction with head and neck surgical leaders from around the world.

For more information on this organization, please contact:
American Head and Neck Society, 11300 West Olympic Blvd. Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA, 90064
Phone: 310-437-0559 | Fax: 310-437-0585

Oral Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week

The 2014 Oral Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (OHANCAW) will take place April 20–26. This week is organized by grassroots activists and health care professionals knowledgeable about cancers of the head and neck region. The week is organized at the discretion of local directors and officers and customized to each locale’s resources and needs. With the intent of increasing awareness of head and neck cancer, its risk factors, presentations, and treatments, the week may include news releases, public service announcements, free cancer screenings, cancer survivor banquets, walk-a-thons, and research conferences.

Learn more about OHANCAW and find screening sites held in conjunction with OHANCAW.

Best Research Poster Awarded at APOS Conference

A poster, Readiness to Implement Continuum of Care Standards by Commission on Cancer Accredited Programs was presented during the 11th Annual Conference of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, held February 13-15, 2014 in Tampa, FL. The poster received one of four Best Research awards for posters presented at the conference. The theme of the conference was Implementing Quality Care Standards for Psychosocial Oncology and Supportive Care. Poster authors included Christophe Gayer, Cancer Support Community, Haley Gardiner, LIVESTRONG, Nina Miller, Commission on Cancer, Stephanie Van Winkle, American Cancer Society, Nina Wendling, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, Sarah Arvey, LIVESTRONG, Vicki Kennedy, Cancer Support Community, and Ruth Rechis, LIVESTRONG. This poster reported on the results of a survey distributed to registrars, Cancer Program Administrators and Psychosocial Service Coordinators from 1400 CoC-accredited programs.

Save-the-Date: Cancer Survivorship Research Conference

Cancer Survivorship Research Conference

Please hold the dates June 18-20, 2014, for the Seventh Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference: Advancing Survivorship through Multilevel Collaborations.

The meeting will be held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia and is co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, LIVESTRONG Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More information can be found on our website.

There will also be training at the conference on implementing survivorship care from the LS Center of Excellence Network, including Care Plans.