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Cancer care standards push patient support

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 19, 2011

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The American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer has updated its accreditation standards for hospitals to reduce patient barriers to care and improve care coordination. The standards, updated for the first time since 2009 and announced in August, say that accredited cancer centers should implement a patient navigation process to reduce disparities in access, screen patients for psychosocial distress and form care plans to help improve the quality of life for patients who survive their bout with cancer.

The standards also call for access to hospice and palliative care as well as coordination among the many disciplines that work to provide cancer care, including primary care physicians, oncologists, nurses, social workers and rehabilitation specialists. The commission sought input on the standards from the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Support Community, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The commission accredits about 30% of U.S. hospitals providing cancer care. The standards are available at the commission's website (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/09/19/prbf0919.htm.

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