Carroll Hospital Center cancer program receives national award

Carroll Hospital Center's cancer program has received the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer's Outstanding Achievement Award for 2011.

The award was given to 106 hospitals throughout the country and six in Maryland, according to Carroll Hospital Center Chief Nursing Officer Stephanie Reid. The other hospitals in Maryland to receive the award were Anne Arundel Medical Center, Saint Agnes Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Union Hospital and Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Reid said Carroll Hospital Center voluntarily chooses to be accredited by the Commission on Cancer. Every three years a surveyor from the commission visits the hospital to evaluate and review the cancer program.

"[The accreditation] is optional, it's something that we choose to do," Reid said. "I think it's a testament to our desire to have the highest quality of cancer care."

There are more than 1,500 accredited cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico, which make up approximately 30 percent of all hospitals, according to the American College of Surgeons website.

Hospitals accredited by the Commission on Cancer diagnose and/or treat more than 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients each year, according to the website.

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes accredited cancer programs that strive for excellence and provide quality care to patients.

Reid said in order to receive the award the hospital and the Carroll Regional Cancer Center, which is part of the hospital's cancer program, were judged in six areas of cancer program activity, which are: cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical management, research, community outreach and quality improvement.

Dr. Flavio Kruter, medical director of the Carroll Regional Cancer Center, said going above and beyond the standards in each category in order to win the award was a team effort at the hospital and the cancer center.

"It represents the collective work of the whole group that works with the cancer program," Kruter said. "It's really a group effort and we're very proud that we received it."

Kruter said receiving the award is confirmation of the hospital's efforts to provide the highest quality of care to its cancer patients.

"What it really means is at the end of the day we do this for the patients," he said. "It's not just about a piece of paper, it's about what we are doing for the community. We think we can provide the best cancer care in the community so people don't have to go anywhere else."

Reid said the cancer program at Carroll Hospital Center and the Carroll Regional Cancer Center is growing and expanding each year.

She said the hospital has plans to expand the cancer program to create a new cancer center that will house the hospital's program and the Carroll Regional Cancer Center under one roof. The new cancer center will be located in the hospital's existing Dixon Building with an addition built for more needed space and services, she said.

While there is no definite date for the building's completion, Reid said hospital officials are hoping to have it open in 2014.

Kruter said he thinks bringing the cancer program and Carroll Regional Cancer Center together in one building will increase the hospital's quality of cancer care for patients.

He said the center will represent an integrated approach to cancer care, with everything an individual with cancer needs. Currently patients have to hop from one place to another to receive the full spectrum of care.

In addition to medical cancer care, patients will be able to go to the center for psychological support, emotional support, physical support and nutritional support, he said.

"It's not just about treating the cancer, but providing a good quality of life and everything that goes with it," he said.

Kruter said he hopes recognition from the Commission on Cancer will give the hospital greater visibility in the community, so that more residents in Carroll know that they don't have to travel far to get quality cancer care.