CoC comments on recent IOM report regarding cancer care in the U.S.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC) responded to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis, released on September 10. CoC Chair Daniel P. McKellar, MD, FACS, clinical professor of surgery at Wright State University, Dayton, OH, and director of the cancer program at Wayne HealthCare, Greenville, OH, called the IOM document a “thought-generating committee report” but noted that the CoC does “not view our current cancer care system as one ‘in crisis.’

“We think the report is well-constructed and provides an excellent framework for improving the delivery of quality cancer care in the future,” Dr. McKellar said. “However, many of the quality issues addressed in the IOM report are already active initiatives of our organization and have been for many years.

“Since 2005, the CoC has provided its accredited cancer programs with an annual Cancer Program Practice Profile Report, which assists cancer programs in monitoring compliance with quality measures and benchmarking,” Dr. McKellar continued. “The CoC also provides immediate feedback on quality measure compliance through our Rapid Quality Reporting System that tracks outcomes in ‘real time’ for clinicians and cancer programs and provides reminders when a quality measure is not met for individual patients.”

More than 1,500 accredited cancer programs follow CoC standards. These standards “set a high bar—one that the CoC has found accredited programs are eager to meet,” according to the CoC response statement.

“Cancer is a multifaceted disease, and its complexity makes it challenging to treat,” said David P. Winchester, MD, FACS, Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs. “The CoC has been a leader in the development and monitoring of quality measures for cancer care and for holding cancer programs accountable for compliance with standards and measures of quality.”

As noted in the IOM report, the CoC has incorporated the National Quality Forum-endorsed measures into the CoC quality reporting tools. Quality measures reported in the Cancer Program Practice Profile Report have been incorporated into the CoC Standards as either Quality Accountability or Quality Improvement measures. The CoC requires accredited cancer programs to comply with these measures.

In addition, the CoC’s Quality Integration Committee approves quality measures to be used for reporting to CoC-accredited programs. Measures for esophageal, gastric, rectal, and non-small cell lung cancer were passed by the Quality Integration Committee in May 2013. These measures will be reported starting in 2014.

The CoC also has formed a full committee that addresses advocacy and health policy issues that affect cancer patients. The CoC has addressed such matters as payment systems, quality tracking systems, cancer disparities, and the challenges of workforce shortages and training needs.

View the full CoC statement online.

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