The National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), which the American College of Surgeons (ACS) launched in 2017, has awarded its first accreditation to the John Muir Health Rectal Cancer Program, Walnut Creek and Concord, CA. To earn the voluntary accreditation, the John Muir Health Rectal Cancer Program met 19 standards, including the establishment of a rectal cancer multidisciplinary team (RC-MDT) with clinical representatives from surgery, pathology, radiology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology.
Thirteen of those standards address clinical services that the program was required to provide, including carcinoembryonic antigen testing, magnetic resonance imagining, and computed tomography imaging for cancer staging, and ensuring a process whereby the patient starts treatment within a defined time frame. One of the most important clinical standards requires all rectal cancer patients to be present at both pre- and post-treatment RC-MDT meetings.
“When a cancer center achieves this type of specialized accreditation, it means that their rectal cancer patients will receive streamlined, modern evaluation and treatment for the disease. Compliance with our standards will assure optimal care for these patients,” said David P. Winchester, MD, FACS, Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs.
“We have come a long way in the treatment of rectal cancer, but it remains a very complex disease that can be challenging to treat,” said Samuel Oommen, MD, FACS, a colorectal surgeon and medical director of the gastrointestinal oncology program at John Muir Health. “This accreditation demonstrates to patients that we have an innovative program that is at the forefront of rectal cancer care by following rigorous standards and best practices. Achieving this designation is a recognition of the work done by a dedicated multidisciplinary team providing high quality, patient-centered care to provide superior oncological outcomes while preserving quality of life,” Dr. Oommen said.
The NAPRC was developed through a collaboration between the Optimizing the Surgical Treatment of Rectal Cancer Consortium and the ACS Commission on Cancer. It is based on successful international models that emphasize program structure, patient care processes, performance improvement, and performance measures. Its goal is to ensure that rectal cancer patients receive appropriate care using a multidisciplinary approach.