DCMH Earns National Recognition for Breast Cancer Care
Drexel Hill, Pa. – Delaware County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) has again received disease-specific certification for breast cancer care from The Joint Commission. An independent non-profit organization, The Joint Commission certifies programs that it identifies as leaders in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The recertification affirms DCMH’s commitment to providing breast cancer patients a level of care that meets the highest national standards.
DCMH Regional Leader in Comprehensive Breast Cancer Care
As the first hospital in Pennsylvania to receive the certification three years ago, DCMH has been, and continues to be, a leader in the region for its comprehensive breast cancer program. This year’s recertification came with no recommendations for improvement in any area.
“The certification is rigorous and it is very concentrated in terms of how we deliver care. Efficiency, coordination and consistency are the hallmarks,” says John Sprandio, M.D., chief of the Section of Hematology/Oncology at DCMH and medical director of the Delaware County Regional Cancer Center. “The focus that we have is very patient-centered, and it’s all about service.”
Marie DeStefano, R.N., M.S.N., FAAMA, administrative director of Oncology for Crozer-Keystone Health System, notes that the center has continued to increase the level of service it provides, even since the original certification three years ago. “We’ve incorporated an intensive educational program for all staff caring for patients with breast cancer, and we’ve decreased the time from abnormal screening mammogram to beginning treatment,” she says. DeStefano notes that, often, when a patient has an abnormal diagnostic mammogram, the nurse navigator is able to arrange a same-day appointment with a surgeon. “We are able to expedite patients through the system with an individualized, specific plan,” she says.
Weekly Multidisciplinary Team Panels Discuss Most Effective Treatment Plans for Each New Patient
Each new patient’s case is discussed in a weekly multidisciplinary panel. This conference involves all parts of the team, from surgeons to radiologists to breast pathologists. Every case is presented before the panel and includes each patient’s diagnostic studies and pathology report. The panel is a true collaboration of experts who carefully analyze the full extent of the disease for each patient, then discuss and agree on the most effective treatment plan.
Thomas Matulewski, M.D., medical director of the Center for Breast Health at DCMH, describes this panel as a setting that allows all members of the team to work together to provide the best quality service. “The certification provides documentation of that combined effort and the excellence that is provided on an individual basis for each and every patient.” This team approach is one reason why Matulewski feels that DCMH’s program provides “university care in a community hospital.”
Deborah Markiewicz, M.D., a DCMH radiation oncologist who specializes in the care of breast patients, agrees that the team approach has been an essential part of the program’s success. “That close relationship among the doctors allows us to be really thorough,” she says. Markiewicz also considers the community hospital setting a benefit to patients, observing, “We get to know our patients very well; people are treated with a lot of respect.”
DCMH Breast Program Recognized by Multiple National Sources
DCMH’s breast program has earned national recognition from multiple sources, affirming a consistently high-level of patient care. In addition to The Joint Commission certification, Dr. Sprandio’s practice is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as the only oncology-certified Patient-Centered Medical Home in the United States. As a national leader in the PCMH model, the program strives for medical care that meets the NCQA’s standard of “what patients want it to be.” This model aims to improve patient experiences through higher quality and lower costs.
Additional noteworthy aspects of the top-tier care provided in the DCMH breast program include:
- National Accreditation of Breast Program Certification through the Commission on Cancer—Breast imaging radiology services accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as a Breast Center of Excellence.
- Cutting-edge technology available in-house—In addition to digital mammography, MRI and PET scans as diagnostic tools, DCMH surgeons are able to use imaging equipment to assist in biopsies and surgeries.
- Allison Aggon, D.O., breast surgeon at the DCMH Center for Breast Health—The Fox Chase Cancer Center fellowship-trained breast surgeon has recently joined DCMH’s breast team.
- Nurse Navigator—Patients have access to a nurse navigator who helps facilitate ongoing care and optimal outcomes.
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery services.
- Prone technique—Breast cancer patients needing radiation therapy are treated using a “prone board,” which reduces radiation exposure and its associated side effects to the heart and lungs, and also avoids chest-wall pain.
Rachelle Lanciano, M.D., chair of Radiation Oncology at DCMH, notes that, in addition to all of the other commendations the program has received, the recertification by The Joint Commission signifies that “we are pursuing excellence in the care of our patients.”
To find out more about cancer services at DCMH, visit http://www.dcmhcancer.org or call 1-866-695-HOPE (1-866-695-4673). To learn more about the Center for Breast Health at DCMH or to make an appointment, call (610) 394-1840 or visit Breast Health Services.