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

May 2014 CoC Source

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Advocacy News

Advocacy Committee Supports Four Acts

The CoC's Advocacy Committee actively supports the following four acts:

  1. Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act (HR 1666)
  2. Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) (HR 1339/S 641)
  3. Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2013 (HR 1070)
  4. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): National Coverage Analysis (NCA) Tracking Sheet for Lung Cancer Screening with Low Dose Computed Tomography (CAG-00439N)

Patient-Centered Quality Care for Life Act (HR 1666)


Introduced by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), the Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act (HR 1666) seeks to address the symptoms and needs of patients with chronic disease by expanding research, establishing a workforce training initiative, and convening health care stakeholders to develop a plan to better manage chronic disease.


The bipartisan HR 1666 is currently cosponsored by 87 members of Congress. Companion legislation has yet to be introduced in the Senate, although efforts are underway to gain introduction this spring.

Outside Support

The Patient Quality of Life Coalition endorses the legislation and is seeking its enactment.


Specifically, HR 1666 would:

  • Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to convene a Summit with key stakeholders to analyze barriers to providing patient-centered care and identify strategic solutions to address issues related to quality of life for patients with complex, chronic illness. Participants would include representatives of federal agencies as well as health professional organizations (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers); not-for-profit organizations; health insurance companies; faith-based organizations; and others as deemed appropriate. Summit participants would identify barriers and solutions to meet the needs of patients with complex, chronic illness.
  • Use the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) definition of seriously ill.
  • Establish national quality of life education and awareness grants for patients, families, and health professionals in an effort to encourage better integration of patient-centered care for managing pain and symptoms. Eligible entities include the following (for additional information see page 12 of the legislation, line 4):
    • Chronic disease or cancer center
    • Academic medical center
    • Physician practice
    • Palliative care or psychosocial care team, and others
  • Establish a training grant program to prepare professionals for enhanced symptom assessment and management, communication skills, coordinated patient-centered care, and other quality of life- focused clinical core competencies.
  • Establish a Quality of Life Cross-Agency Advisory Committee to coordinate the efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Committee members will include representatives from the federal agencies as well as private partners focused on palliative care.
  • Enhance research efforts as they relate to patient quality of life.

HR 1339/S 641, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA)

Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers

Establishes Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers to improve the training of interdisciplinary health professionals in palliative care, develop and disseminate curricula relating to palliative care, support the training and retraining of faculty, support continuing education, provide students with clinical training in appropriate sites of care, and provide traineeships for advanced practice nurses.

Physician Training

Authorizes grants or contracts to schools of medicine, teaching hospitals, and Graduate Medical Exam programs to train physicians (including residents, trainees, and Fellows) who plan to teach palliative medicine. Such programs will provide training in palliative medicine through a variety of service rotations, such as consultation services, acute care services, extended care facilities, ambulatory care and comprehensive evaluation units, hospice, home health, and community care programs. Programs will be required to develop specific performance-based measures to evaluate the competency of trainees.

Academic Career Awards

Establishes a program to promote the career development of physicians who are board certified or board eligible in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and have a junior (non-tenured) faculty appointment at an accredited school of medicine. Eligible individuals must provide assurance of a full-time faculty appointment in a health professional institution and commit to spending a majority of their funded time teaching and developing skills in interdisciplinary education in palliative care.

Workforce Development

Authorizes funding for up to 24 Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers to establish fellowship programs that provide short-term intensive courses focused on palliative care. The fellowships will provide supplemental training for faculty members in medical schools and other health professional schools, targeted to current faculty, and appropriately credentialed volunteer faculty and practitioners who do not have formal training in palliative care, to upgrade their knowledge and clinical skills for the care of individuals with serious or life-threatening illness and to enhance their interdisciplinary teaching skills. The fellowship programs will support the team approach of palliative care and allow formal re-training of midcareer physicians in palliative medicine.

Career Incentive Awards

Provides grants or contracts for eligible health professionals who agree to teach or practice in the field of palliative care for at least five years. Eligible individuals include: advanced practice nurses, clinical social workers, pharmacists, and students of psychology who are pursuing a doctorate or other advanced degrees in palliative care or related fields in an accredited health professions school.

Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (HR 1070)

This bill amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to waive coinsurance for colorectal cancer screening tests, thus covering 100 percent of their cost under Medicare part B [Supplementary Medical Insurance Benefits for the Aged and Disabled]. This bill would correct an oversight in current law that requires Medicare beneficiaries to pay a coinsurance when a colorectal cancer screening colonoscopy also involves a polyp removal during the screening encounter. HR 1070 would remove the coinsurance liability.

In response to the CMS National Coverage Analysis (NCA) Tracking Sheet for Lung Cancer Screening with Low Dose Computed Tomography (CAG-00439N), the American College of Radiology, Lung Cancer Alliance, the Society of Thoracic Surgery, and the American College of Surgeons signed a Consensus Stakeholder letter for physicians and patient advocacy groups.

Receiving Commendation for RQRS Participation - Standard 5.2

Beginning with the 2014 surveys, programs 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 from January 1, 2008 through the most recent in the cancer registry. However, programs that do not want to include retrospective data programs may elect, at minimum, to submit cases diagnosed since January 1, 2012, through the most recent in the cancer registry.

To receive commendation for RQRS participation, programs should:

  • Submit breast, colon, and rectum cases
  • Submit retrospective cases diagnosed at a minimum of January 1, 2012, through the most recent in the registry (note: cases may be submitted based on diagnoses beginning January, 1,2008)
  • Provide at least quarterly data submissions once the program completes enrollment in RQRS.

Programs surveyed in 2014 should have at least one completed data submission by the time of survey. Programs surveyed in 2015 or 2016 should have completed their first data submission by the end of 2014. There is currently no requirement on the concurrency of cases submitted to the system.

Orientation Video Explains How to Become a CLP

All newly and reappointed Cancer Liaison Physicians (CLPs) must view the CoC's Cancer Liaison Program orientation video, which features an overview of the CLP Information Board on the CoC website. The board serves as the primary source for information to help CLPs perform their role at their facility and improve the quality of care provided to their patients. Visit the CLP Information Board to download the video.

This video is not available on the CoC Education Portal and no continuing medical education (CME) credits are offered. It is to be self-reported on the CLP activity report located in the Survey Annual Report.

Need Help Preparing Your Cancer Committee Report?

Standard 4.3 requires Cancer Liaison Physicians (CLPs) to report their cancer program’s performance four times per year. There are many questions about what should be included in those reports. To help CLPs prepare their reports, cancer programs provide samples using the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) tools on the CLP Information Board.

You may also serve as a resource to the CLP network by submitting successful report ideas from your cancer committee meetings.

New Webinar: Navigating CP3R Version 3

American College of Surgeons (ACS) staff member, Erica McNamara, MPH, MM, presents a 15-minute pre-recorded webinar, Navigating CP3R Version 3 on the ACS Cancer Programs Online Education Portal. This presentation describes strategies for documenting and discussing activity, as well as creating an educational and evaluative survey environment. The following areas are also covered:

  • Basic navigation techniques for the new Cancer Program Practice Profile
  • Reports Version 3 (CP3R) application
  • Comparisons between the previous version of CP3R with the new version to allow users to understand what changes have been made to the CP3R application

This webinar is complimentary to CoC-accredited cancer program staff using their CoC Datalinks user ID and is $50 for all other participants. For more information and to register, click on this link.

Make sure to bookmark the ACS Cancer Programs Online Education Portal, where you will find all CoC educational webinars.

Register Today for the RQRS and CoC Workshops - 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.


8th Edition Expert Panel Orientation

On Thursday, April 3, the Editorial Board, Expert Panel Chairs, and Vice-Chairs for the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Cancer Staging System met in Chicago, IL, to discuss plans for the 8th Edition. Editor-in-Chief Mahul B. Amin, MD, FCAP, presented his vision for the project to the group, which focuses on integration of molecular biomarkers for more accurate disease stratification and inclusion of all cancer specialties in the electronic authoring process.

Chief among the orientation presentations was the Cancer Staging Content Transformation Project (CSCoT), a content harmonization initiative by the AJCC to further enhance usability of the staging system by providing clearer staging rules and references for the 8th Edition and all future editions. The afternoon session focused on the Editorial Board Cores, which will provide support for content harmonization, levels of evidence, integration of precision medicine, and data collection. The group capped off the day with a breakout session focusing on how the AJCC can integrate personalized medicine into the AJCC Tumor, Node, Metastasis (TNM) staging system.

Make sure to visit our website for continued 8th Edition news and follow us on Twitter for live updates.


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.

The NAPBC welcomes Steffanye Hawbaker Mack as Education Administrator!

In her new role Steffanye is responsible for coordination of NAPBC educational events and offerings. You will also have an opportunity to meet her at professional meeting exhibits. Steffanye’s e-mail is and her phone number is 312-202-5481. Welcome, Steffanye!


NCRA launches new website

The new National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) website has been redesigned to showcase NCRA's services and the work of cancer registrars. Features include: enhanced navigation with refined menu options, updated utility bar with immediate access to the most popular content, improved site-wide search functionality, and much more. Visit the new site at

Application deadline for summer 2014 certified tumor registrar (CTR) exam dates extended to May 21

The application deadline for the summer 2014 CTR exam testing window has been extended to May 21. The testing window is June 21 to July 12, 2014. Candidates can download the CTR Exam Candidate's Handbook at

Dr. Otis W. Brawley to deliver keynote address at NCRA’s 2014 annual conference

Otis W. Brawley, MD, FACP, chief medical officer, American Cancer Society, will address the 1,200+ cancer registrars attending NCRA’s annual conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, May 15-18, in Nashville, TN. Brawley will discuss the current state of cancer research and the important role of the cancer registrar and cancer data; the direction of the American Cancer Society and its priorities for the future; and the relationship of the Affordable Care Act to patient-centered care and cancer registry data. His keynote is scheduled for Sunday, May 18, at 8:00 a.m. To learn more and to register, go to

New one-day intensive CTR exam training at NCRA’s 2014 annual conference

NCRA will host a one-day intensive training for those taking the CTR exam in summer or fall of 2014. Faculty will focus exclusively on the open-book portion of the exam and provide a thorough review of resources and offer hands-on case studies to help candidates prepare for the exam. To learn more, go to

Monthly Spotlight: Oncology Nursing 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 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS).

The ONS is a professional association of more than 35,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for quality patient care in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for cancer patients and their families.

ONS’ strategic direction focuses on four pillars: knowledge, leadership, quality, and technology. ONS’ directs its health policy efforts to critical issues affecting nurses and patients, which includes promoting and improving cancer symptom management and pain control, advancing and ensuring access to quality cancer prevention and care, and bolstering the nation’s nursing workforce to safeguard public health.

ONS is now in the second year of a three-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop innovative digital communication methods that disseminate research findings to health care providers. Phase One participants completed a caregiver strain and burden survey, and some participants in this phase of the project received targeted e-mail messages with case studies and links to ONS PEP (Putting Evidence into Practice) Caregiver Strain and Burden interventions.

ONS is preparing to launch the ONS Get Up, Get Moving national quality campaign, which is focused on educating nurses and other health care professionals to encourage patients with cancer to include physical activity in their daily routines to help combat fatigue.

ONS offers programs that foster leadership in nurses, including an online course, webcasts, and competencies. An annual leadership weekend is conducted for ONS chapter presidents and special interest group coordinators to develop leadership skills.

Event Information

The 39th Annual ONS Congress, May 1-4, 2014, in Anaheim, CA, will refresh attendees’ knowledge of cancer care, from symptom management and treatment innovations to leadership, research, and administration.

May is Oncology Nursing Month, a worldwide observance honoring nurses who care for cancer patients. This year’s theme, Oncology Nurses: First in Hope, First in Care, reflects the vital presence of oncology nurses—the health care provider patients see most often. Patients turn first to oncology nurses for hope, for a positive outcome, and for ongoing care and treatment.

Recent Publications and/or Products

ONS provides continuing nursing education using a variety of platforms to meet the needs of today’s busy professionals. Live, in-person, virtual, and online programming options are some ways that ONS reaches oncology nurses. ONS now offers the ONS/ Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation chemotherapy biotherapy certificate course, which provides evidence-based education aimed at keeping oncology nurses current in their knowledge and ultimately helping to improve the quality of life and outcomes for cancer patients.

Recently published books include Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Guidelines and Recommendations for Practice, 4th edition, Clinical Manual for the Oncology Advanced Practice Nurse, 3rd edition, Hematologic Malignancies in Adults. ONS also has a consumer division, Hygeia Media, whose newest publication is This Should Not Be Happening: Young Adults with Cancer. Also published recently is ONS Oncology Nurse Navigator Core Competencies.

For more information on this organization, please contact:
Oncology Nursing Society, 125 Enterprise Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275
Ph: 866-257-4ONS (866-257-4667) | Fax: 412-859-6162
E-mail: | Website:

Save-the-Date: 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.