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Southcoast Hospitals Group has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval.













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For Immediate Release:
January 23, 2013


Southcoast Hospitals Group receives recognition for cancer care from the largest oncology society in the United States



NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Southcoast™ Hospitals Group has been recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), for its system-wide oncology program. The QOPI® Certification Program provides a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet the highest standards for quality cancer care.

"We're extremely proud to receive this certification from ASCO and QOPI which underscores our commitment to the community, and especially to our oncology patients, to provide the highest quality oncology service here at Southcoast," said Eileen Sugrue-McElearney, Vice President for Oncology Services at Southcoast Health System.

"Cancer patients and their families should expect nothing less than accountability and the highest standards from their cancer care providers," said Allen S. Lichter, MD, CEO of ASCO and President of the QOPI Certification Program. "QOPI participation reflects a commitment to quality of care that leads to fundamental changes in the clinical practice of oncology. Oncology practices that commit to quality and safety are those that provide the most optimal cancer care. The Certification Program helps practices determine whether they are providing the best treatment and care possible to their patients, and demonstrates a commitment to excellence and ongoing quality improvement in the hematology-oncology outpatient practice."

QOPI is a voluntary, self-assessment and improvement program launched by ASCO in 2006 to help hematology-oncology and medical oncology practices assess the quality of the care they provide to patients. Through the QOPI program, practices abstract data from patients' records up to twice per year and enter this information into a secure database. More than 700 oncology practices have registered in the QOPI program.

The QOPI Certification Program (QCP) was launched in January 2010. This certification for outpatient oncology practices is the first program of its kind for oncology in the United States. Oncologists can achieve certification by demonstrating practice consistent with the highest standards of care. The QCP seal designates those practices that not only scored high on the key QOPI quality measures, but meet rigorous safety measures established by ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS).

QOPI analyzes individual practice data and compares these to more than 100 evidence-based and consensus quality measures. To become certified, practices have to submit to an evaluation of their entire practice and documentation standards. The QCP staff and steering group members then verify that the evaluation and documents are correct and that the practices met core standards in all areas of treatment, including treatment planning, staff training and education, chemotherapy orders and drug preparation, patient consent and education, safe chemotherapy administration and monitoring and assessment of patient well-being.

Recently, Southcoast Hospitals Group was also awarded the highly regarded Approval with Commendation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) for its system-wide oncology program.

The three-year Approval with Commendation, the highest rating awarded by the Commission on Cancer, is given only to those facilities that have voluntarily committed to providing the highest level of quality cancer care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of performance.

"This prestigious approval combined with the QOPI Certification strongly affirms that Southcoast Hospitals Group meets high standards of cancer care across our system at all levels — from prevention, early diagnosis, evaluation, staging, treatment, rehabilitation and surveillance of recurrent disease," Sugrue-McElearney said.

Receiving care at a Commission on Cancer-accredited facility ensures that a patient has access to comprehensive care, including a range of state-of-the art services and equipment, a multi-specialty team approach, information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options, access to cancer-related information, education and support, a cancer registry that collects data on type, stage, treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up and quality of care close to home.

Certification also covers non-medical aspects of cancer care, including psychosocial support and end-of-life care. It includes inpatient and outpatient services.

There are currently only 1,500 Commission on Cancer-approved oncology programs in the United States, representing just under 30 percent of the hospitals across the country.

About the American Society of Clinical Oncology

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 30,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds ground-breaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer. For ASCO information and resources, visit www.asco.org. Patient-oriented cancer information is available at www.cancer.net.


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Stephanie Poyant
Public Information Officer
Phone: 508-961-5280
Pager: 508-387-2532
Fax: 508-961-5876
poyants@southcoast.org



Southcoast Health System is a community based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island.

It includes the three hospitals that make up Southcoast Hospitals Group — Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

Southcoast provides advanced clinical services, such as open heart surgery, angioplasty and heart rhythm services, comprehensive cancer care, neurosurgery, weight loss surgery, orthopedic surgery, advanced imaging services and is the only provider of maternity services in the region.

Southcoast is a not-for-profit charitable organization that depends on the support of the community to provide services. More information is available online at www.southcoast.org. Connect to Southcoast through social media at www.southcoast.org/connect/.





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