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VA Puget Sound again earns national accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons

PRESS RELEASE

July 18, 2022

Seattle , WA — The Commission on Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons, has again granted three-year accreditation to VA Puget Sound Health Care System’s cancer program.

To earn voluntary accreditation, a cancer program must meet 34 Commission on Cancer quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care. 

According to the American Cancer Society, one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.  The VA diagnoses and treats more than 43,000 Veterans annually and is one of the nation’s largest integrated providers of oncology services.

“Our national accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons underscores our commitment to providing our Veterans with the best health outcomes,” said VA Puget Sound Health Care System Cancer Committee Chair Dr. Michael Porter. “The VA is leading the fight against cancer through precision oncology by developing and applying new technologies, tools, research knowledge, and best-practice therapies. Our scientific and medical breakthroughs are shared both inside and outside our healthcare system to benefit not just Veterans, but all Americans.”

As a Commission on Cancer-accredited center—one of only 32 across VA nationally—VA Puget Sound takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists.  This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care. 

The Commission on Cancer Accreditation Program provides the framework for VA Puget Sound to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care.  When patients receive care at VA Puget Sound, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counselling, and Veteran-centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.  

Like all CoC-accredited facilities, VA Puget Sound maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base, a joint program of the Commission on Cancer and American Cancer Society. This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world.  Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the data base and used to explore trends in cancer care.  Commission on Cancer -accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports.  These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.  

About VA Puget Sound Health Care System:

VA Puget Sound provides comprehensive care to approximately 156,000 Veterans across the Pacific Northwest—approximately 120,000 are enrolled with a primary care team at one of its 10 care sites: two main campuses (American Lake and Seattle), six outpatient clinics (Edmonds, Mount Vernon, Olympia, Port Angeles, Puyallup and Silverdale) and two Community Resource & Referral Centers (Georgetown in Seattle and Renton). As the VA’s 4th largest research program, VA Puget Sound has research in virtually every major clinical department, including: TBI and multiple blast exposures; memory improvement and Alzheimer's Disease; PTSD and deployment health; Parkinson’s Disease; diabetes; cancer; substance abuse; lower limb prosthetics; genomics; and Health Services. Additionally, it has seven nationally recognized Centers of Excellence (in areas from limb-loss prevention and prosthetic engineering to primary care education and substance abuse treatment). For more information visit www.va.gov/puget-sound-health-care or call 800-329-8387.  For Veterans in Crisis, please use the Veterans Crisis line at 800-273-8255 (press 1).

About Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons

Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving patient outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care.  Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons.  For more information, visit: https://www.facs.org/quality-programs/cancer-programs/commission-on-cancer/

Media contacts

Tami Begasse, Public Affairs Officer

206-277-1711

publicaffairspugetsound@va.gov

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