VA Maryland Health Care System’s Cancer Program Maintains Accreditation

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The Baltimore VA Medical Center, which is a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System, has been re-accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. After conducting an objective evaluation of the facility, the Commission found that the health care system’s cancer program maintains excellent compliance with College of American Pathologists (CAP) protocols.

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Maintaining accreditation allows the Commission and our own providers to identify areas where we can improve the level of care we offer. Becoming accredited is strictly a voluntary commitment, but it says that the VA strives to constantly improve the quality of our care to achieve the highest standards possible.

The Baltimore VA Medical Center, which is a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System, has been re-accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. After conducting an objective evaluation of the facility, the Commission found that the health care system’s cancer program maintains excellent compliance with College of American Pathologists (CAP) protocols. Specifically, the cancer program earned high grades for its very active outreach program aimed at prevention and early detection and its robust enrollment in clinical trials.

''We’re thrilled our cancer program has attained accreditation by the Cancer Commission. This organization set the standards for cancer treatment, and we’re pleased to join the 1,500 facilities that have gained accreditation for their cancer programs,'' said Dennis H. Smith, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

Dr. Ajay Jain, chief, Surgical Oncology and chair of the cancer committee for the VA Maryland Health Care System, said, ''We’re very happy to be a center that is accredited by the Commission on Cancer.'' He also added, ''Having the accreditation is important for the VA and for our patients. Patients know that they are getting a certain quality of care, that they are getting a multi-specialty and team approach to coordinate the best care options. Patients also know that they are getting comprehensive care offering a range of state-of-the-art treatment options.''

According to Dr. Jain, accreditation means that providers are always monitoring and improving their knowledge and skills, keeping up to date on new treatment options, engaging in clinical trials, and achieving the latest standards of care outlined by the Commission on Cancer and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.

''It enables us to continue to attract the best care providers,'' said Dr. Jain. “Maintaining accreditation allows the Commission and our own providers to identify areas where we can improve the level of care we offer. Becoming accredited is strictly a voluntary commitment, but it says that the VA strives to constantly improve the quality of our care to achieve the highest standards possible.”

Since its inception in 1922, the Commission’s goal has been to reduce the morbidity and mortality of cancer through education, standard setting, and the monitoring of quality care. It established the standards and a program of review and accreditation for cancer programs in the 1930s.

The VA Maryland Health Care System offers a comprehensive cancer care through a multi-specialty team. The health care system’s cancer program diagnoses and treats approximately 475 to 500 cancer cases annually.

The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to veterans at two medical centers, one rehabilitation & extended care center and five outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 veterans from various generations receive care from VAHMCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, VAHMCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for Veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a Veteran can do. For information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment or how to apply for a VA medical care hardship to avoid future copayments for VA health care, interested Veterans are urged to call the Enrollment Center for the VA Maryland Health Care System, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7324 or visit http://www.maryland.va.gov .

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