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

July 2015 CoC Source

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CoC Announces Oncology Medical Home Accreditation Pilot Program

Ensuring that each cancer patient receives the right care at the right time and at the right place.

What is an Oncology Medical Home? 

The Oncology Medical Home (OMH) focuses on delivering, ensuring, and measuring quality and value in cancer care and relies on a physician-led, team-based health care model that provides comprehensive and continuous care to cancer patients with a goal of obtaining maximized health outcomes. This patient-focused system delivers coordinated and efficient cancer care and is designed to meet the needs of patients, payers, and providers. 

The OMH standards focus on oncology and assess care in the following areas:

  • Basic Eligibility – physician commitment to the OMH model, an Electronic Health Record (EHR) and using data to measure performance.
  • Patient Engagement – empower and educate the patient to understand their treatments and the side effects, where to go for medical care and financial counseling.
  • Expanded Access – provide patients with same day (24/7) urgent care on weekdays, weekends, holidays, and evenings to avoid Emergency Department visits.
  • Evidence-Based Medicine – follow standardized evidence-based guidelines consistent with National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) or American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), demonstrate safe medication usage, and appropriate utilization of laboratory and imaging study resources and encourage clinical trial enrollment. 
  • Comprehensive Team-Based Care – focus on addressing the full scope of patient needs (medical, economic, and psychosocial); developing relationships with external providers and hospitals providing care to the OMH’s patients.  
  • Quality Improvement – continually review and measure the care within the practice and compare performance to other practices. Demonstrate the provision of high-quality care through performance summaries and data submission.  

Earlier this year, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) conducted a beta-test of the OMH Standards and the survey process. Ten OMH practices were surveyed and of these, nine practices received accreditation. These programs are: 

Austin Cancer Center - Austin, TX 
Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders - Ft. Worth, TX 
Dayton Physicians Network - Dayton, OH   
Hematology Oncology Associates of Central New York - Syracuse, NY
New England Cancer Specialists - Scarborough, ME 
New Mexico Oncology Hematology Center - Albuquerque, NM
NM Northwest Georgia Oncology Center - Marietta, GA 
Oncology Hematology Care - Cincinnati, OH 
Space Coast Cancer Center - Titusville, FL 

Beginning in January 2016, the CoC will pilot the OMH accreditation process with up to 50 OMH practices. To be considered for the pilot program, please complete the information requested in the OMH information survey. Your responses will be reviewed and a member of the CoC OMH Accreditation program team will contact you.

Benefits of Being an OMH-Accredited Program

Applying for and maintaining CoC-OMH accreditation is a voluntary commitment by an OMH practice to ensure that all its cancer patients will have the right treatment at the right time in the right place. The commitment to meeting the standards and reviewing performance data ensures patients will have access to the full scope of services required to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate, and support patients with cancer and their families. 

Cancer Registry Data: Engaging the Clinician to Improve Quality

Recently published in Cancer, “Cancer registry data: Engaging the clinician to improve quality,” discusses the increasing need for more data in health care, and cancer registrars who perform that role. The article was written by Elliot Asare, MD, American Joint Committee on Cancer Clinical Scholar in Residence; Donna Gress, RHIT, CTR, American Joint Committee on Cancer; Frederick Greene, MD, FACS, Levine Cancer Institute; and David P. Winchester, MD, FACS, American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs. The FORDS revision project is highlighted with the effort to bridge the gap between clinicians and registrars to improve the quality of registry data. Access the full article online.

CoC Legislative Briefing: Accreditation Matters

The CoC’s second annual legislative briefing was held on June 9 in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC. James Hamilton, Jr., MD, FACS; Balazs Bodai, MD, FACS; and Mike Smith, a cancer survivor, spoke to a group of more than 40 congressional representatives and their staff. 

Dr. Hamilton focused on the value of CoC accreditation. Dr. Bodai spoke about cancer survivorship and the value of patient-centered care and education about the survivor’s future care and quality of life. Mr. Smith told his personal story of being diagnosed with stage II Burkitt's Lymphoma (a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) in July 2008. He received treatment at CoC-accredited Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. Since finishing treatment, Mike has continued to fight cancer through advocacy, outreach, and fundraising. He has focused on athletic endeavors and leading by example—demonstrating that a cancer diagnosis is an odyssey and that there is life after cancer. He has completed two half-Ironman races, cycled thousands of miles, and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the fight against cancer.

NCDB PUF Request for Applications Open Mid-July

The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) will begin accepting applications for the Participant Use Data File (PUF) in mid-July. An announcement regarding dates will be made at a later time.

PUFs are organ-site specific and contain de-identified patient-level data for cases diagnosed through 2013. This program is designed to provide investigators at 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. The PUF is a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant data file and meets the terms of the Business Associate Agreement (BAA) between the American College of Surgeons and cancer programs accredited by the CoC. NCDB PUFs are available only upon successful review of the application, following the close of the application period.

Prospective applicants can find more information about the application process and data items available on the PUF page.  

Additional questions regarding the NCDB PUFs may be directed to NCDB Technical Staff at

CLP Designated Alternate

Thank you to everyone who attended Survey Savvy. I presented an update on Standard 4.3 and the CLP’s responsibilities within the cancer committee. As usual I learned both from preparing the presentation as well as the questions following my talk. One question asked about the CLP designated alternate and whether the Committee Chair could serve in that role. I answered yes. However, afterwards I was informed that my answer was incorrect. A required member of the cancer committee cannot serve as the designated alternate for another required member of the committee.  I extend an apology for the misinformation. 

Mary J. Milroy, MD, FACS
Chair, CLP Committee

What's New for CLPs?

A new video on quality measures will be available in the Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) section by July 1.  Be sure to check our CLP section.

Expiring CLP Term - July 1

CLPs serve a three-year term and are eligible to serve an unlimited number of terms based on performance and evaluation data collected at the time of survey. More than 100 CLP terms will expire on July 1, 2015, and each cancer committee must determine whether their current CLP is appropriately serving in this role or if another candidate would be better suited to the position.

Notification and instructions will be sent to cancer committee chairs of programs with a CLP whose term is expiring. Cancer registrars will be notified as well. The facility must either reappoint the CLP for another three-year term or recommend a replacement to fill the role.

Please update and confirm your CLP’s contact information in CoC Datalinks. If you have questions or concerns, please e-mail us at

Note. If your accredited facility does not have a CLP in place, you are in jeopardy of noncompliance with CoC Standards 1.3 and 4.3. It is important that you make an appointment as soon as possible and that you designate an individual as the CLP in CoC Datalinks. If a CLP is not appointed for your facility and recorded in CoC Datalinks, the CoC recommends that the cancer committee chair be listed as the interim CLP until an official appointment is made.

New State Chair

The American College of Surgeons and the CoC announce the appointment of a new state chair. A state chair’s term is three years and they may serve a maximum of two (2) three-year terms. 

Theresa Schwartz, MD, FACS 
Missouri State Chair 

Registration is Now Open for Fall Accreditation 101

Accreditation 101: Learning the Basics of CoC Accreditation and Standards

Friday, September 11
Baltimore, MD

  • Are you a new staff member just learning about Commission on Cancer (CoC) accreditation?
  • Is your cancer program considering CoC accreditation, and you want to learn about the CoC Standards?
  • Do you want a refresher on the CoC accreditation process and standards?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Accreditation 101: Learning the Basics of CoC Accreditation and Standards is for you.

This is the only program developed and taught by CoC surveyors and staff that reviews the CoC Standards, provides practical information on how to achieve compliance, and discusses the important role you and your cancer team play throughout the continuum of cancer care. Get the information you need from the people involved in standard development and the survey process.

Visit the Accreditation 101 web page for more information on the meeting, agenda, and hotel information. Register now as space is limited. 

Registration Fee

$750 on or before July 31
$850 after July 31 

This fee includes a copy of the Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care v1.2.1, ($50.00 value), resource materials, breakfast, lunch, and breaks. 

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

Continuing education credit will not be offered for this program.  


AJCC Registrar Curriculum: Mark Your Calendars for Module IV

Mark your calendar for July 15 when the Module IV lessons of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Curriculum for Registrars will be posted. When the modules are posted, visit the AJCC website to register for the next live webinar on August 25. There is a limit of 1,000 spots for the live webinar. If you are not able to participate in the live webinar, you can still earn two continuing education (CE) credits for the recorded webinar.

The AJCC Curriculum for Registrars launched in January 2015. The curriculum was designed to provide education in a step-wise learning environment, complete with additional resources to reinforce the information and webinars with interactive quizzes to prompt discussion and serve as a self assessment for the information learned. This is self-guided, adult learning, and you are expected to review the lessons before attending the live or recorded webinars.

Two CE credits are being offered for Modules II–IV. Module IModule II, and Module III recordings are available through the AJCC website. Module I is not eligible for CE credits.

Please remember to use the CAnswer Forum for questions related to the webinars.


Leah Kiesow Installed as NCRA President 

Leah Kiesow, MBA, CTR, was installed as the president of the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) at its annual educational conference in San Antonio, TX, on May 23. As president, Ms. Kiesow, the director of the cancer registry at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, will focus on encouraging the growth of current and future leaders within the profession and increasing the awareness of the value of public reporting of cancer care measures. Learn more at

NCRA Posts Online Quizzes from JRM

NCRA offers cancer registrars the opportunity to take a quiz based on an article in the Journal of Registry Management (JRM). Recently posted quizzes include: 

  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in Eastern Pennsylvania: An Assessment of Registry Reporting
  • Process Improvement: A Multi-Registry Database Abstraction Success Story
  • What Increased Registry Outreach May Mean for Cutaneous Melanoma Surveillance: Impact of Changes in Iowa. 

Earn one continuing education credit for the successful completion of each quiz.

NCRA Education Foundation's Telecommute Toolkit

NCRA's Education Foundation has developed a toolkit to help registrars make the case for telecommuting. Learn what it takes to develop a telecommute program and what makes a good telecommute worker. Understand administrators' reservations and how to overcome them. 

Get Ready for the 2016 Transition to Assigning AJCC TNM Stage 

NCRA’s Cancer Case Studies Workbook provides opportunities for registrars to practice assigning AJCC TNM Stage and coding SEER Summary Stage. The book has been designed to assist those new to the cancer registry field to build their skills. The book will also benefit seasoned professionals who want to improve their proficiencies. The 40 cases were prepared by Donna Gress, RHIT, CTR. Answers and rationales provided. NCRA member price: $75; non-member price: $95. Order at

New Website Helps Educate Patients on the Value of Clinical Trials

About Clinical Trials (ACT) is a unique, on-line resource that features unscripted interviews with clinical trial participants, physicians, patient rights advocates, and others. The stories and information presented should be shared with your patients in order to have educated discussions on the importance of clinical trials. The videos include: Why Should I Consider a Cancer Clinical Trial?,  How Will I Know if a Clinical Trial is Right for Me?, How Should I Prepare for Discussions with My Doctor?,  What Standards are in Place to Safeguard Trial Participants?, What is Informed Consent?, and Where Can I Turn for Information and Support?

The videos feature the following participants:

Otis Brawley, MD, FACP -- Oncologist and Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society
Arthur Caplan, PhD -- Medical Ethicist, NYU 
Constance Dennis-Bragg and Shelley Snider -- Study Participant and Caregiver
Rose and Robert Gerber -- Study Participant and Caregiver
Sandra Horning, MD -- Oncologist and Genentech Chief Medical Officer
Susan Love, MD -- Surgeon and Research Advocate
Daniel P. McKellar, MD, FACS -- Surgeon and Commission on Cancer Chair
Joanna Morales, Esq -- Cancer Rights Attorney
Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP -- Breast Oncologist and Cancer Institute Medical Director
Jack and Jan Whelan -- Study Participant and Caregiver  

2015 World Congress of Psycho-Oncology

The American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) and the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) gather for the 2015 World Congress of Psycho-Oncology July 28–August 1 in Washington, DC. This year’s theme “From National to Global: Implementing the Standard of Psychosocial Care in Oncology” will bring together 600–800 psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, clergy, patient advocates, oncologists, and other physicians from around the world. Psychosocial oncology is a subspecialty in oncology that studies and addresses the psychological, social, behavioral, and emotional aspects of cancer. This conference will allow members of the international oncology community to share and learn about current science, global health initiatives, and new clinical interventions in the field. 

The conference will offer an exciting educational program with continuing education credit that includes preconference workshops; plenary sessions featuring world-renowned speakers, including well-known journalist Cokie Roberts, Robert Croyle, PhD (National Cancer Institute), Patricia Ganz, MD, and the World Health Organization’s Andreas Ullrich, PhD; educational sessions; and exhibits promoting the latest in cancer treatment choices, developments in supportive care and cancer education, and advocacy groups. 

Special events will include a tour of Washington, DC, via a Potomac River dinner cruise; a private tour of the Washington Cathedral; and an innovative reading of Sophocles’ Philoctetes and town hall discussion exploring the nature of illness by the New York-based “Outside the Wire” theater company.