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Douglas County Hospital Cancer Center earns national accreditation

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Douglas County Hospital's Cancer Center received accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American Collage of Surgeons. (Contributed photo)3 / 3

Douglas County Hospital is providing top notch, quality cancer care right here in rural Minnesota - and they have the national accreditation to back up their efforts.

Douglas County's Hospital's cancer program recently received coveted accreditation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons.

The CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients through standards setting, prevention, research, education and monitoring of care.

The accreditation is a distinction that 1,400 other cancer programs in the country have earned.

Douglas County Hospital's cancer center not only met and maintained 36 standards to qualify for the accreditation, but the program also received seven out of seven possible commendations.

"It wasn't an easy task to do, but we're ecstatic that we got it," said Marion Raflores, MD, with Douglas County Hospital's Oncology Center and Broadway Medical Center.

The accreditation process is like an audit of the cancer center's program.

Multiple aspects of the center's procedure and protocol were looked at in detail as part of the accreditation process, including the program's patient outcomes, clinical management, data accuracy, quality improvement activities, research, support services and professional education.

One element that the local cancer center already had established is a committee of local medical staff including surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, primary care physicians and other health care professionals, which hold conferences where patients' cases are discussed, confidentially. Each professional has input on what may be best for that patient's treatment and care.

"It's not treatment from just one person," Raflores said, "It's getting all the disciplines together to discuss treatment," Raflores said.

Dr. Raflores said that's the kind of thing they've been doing all along, but are now being recognized for.

"To me, this accreditation is vital to the community. It's not my achievement it's our achievement as a community and facility. Without the help of everyone, it would not have happened.

"It was a lot of work and it wouldn't have happened if we didn't help each other - Broadway Medical Center, Alexandria Clinic, Douglas County Hospital and staff. It proves to get good cancer care it takes more than one person. It takes the whole medical community. I'm pretty happy with that," Raflores said.

Kevin Weedman, RN, said although there was a lot of paperwork involved in the accreditation process, it proves the cancer program is following national guidelines and patients are getting approved treatments - and they can get it all locally.

Each month, the cancer center treats approximately 250 people.

The local cancer program will be reviewed for reaccreditation in three years.

"The ultimate reason why I think everyone worked to get it done is we all know the bottom line is good patient care that was our main inspiration," Raflores said.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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