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Washington Radiation Oncology Center Earns Prestigious Accreditation

April 30, 2013

ACR Recognition Considered 'Gold Standard' for Patient Care

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has awarded a three-year accreditation to the Washington Radiation Oncology Center. ACR accreditation is widely recognized as the "gold standard" in measuring quality patient care and safety in the field of radiation oncology. Led by Medical Director Dr. Ranu Grewal-Bahl and radiation oncologist Dr. Michael Bastasch, the Washington Radiation Oncology Center offers high-quality radiation oncology services, using state-of-the-art technology that represents the latest advances in radiation therapy.

"For our patients and the community at large, this recognition by the ACR provides confirmation of the excellent services we provide," says Dr. Bastasch. "We've always believed in the quality of our radiation oncology services, but this accreditation is a formal acknowledgement of our quality by an independent panel of experts from all over the country."

The ACR conducted an extensive review of every aspect of the Radiation Oncology Center's operations.

"It took us several months to prepare the documentation that was required in the accreditation application process," explains Dr. Bastasch. "Then the ACR sent its panel of experts to conduct an intensive on-site inspection. They evaluated our equipment to make sure it was calibrated properly and performing up to required technical specifications. They examined our standards and requirements for staff training and certifications. They reviewed all of our policies, procedures and standards of practice as they relate to quality and safety. The entire accreditation process is designed to ensure the safety of our patients."

The ACR review panel also scrutinized the medical physicist's role in quality assurance. Medical Physicist Pam Fuerst notes, "They reviewed the path a patient takes through our department, with emphasis on the performance of the CT scanner and the linear accelerator that supplies the radiation for external-beam radiation therapy. Their goal was to ensure that patients are treated safely, correctly and accurately, and that Washington Radiation Oncology Center is performing up to their high technical standards."

As part of the accreditation review process, the ACR required the Radiation Oncology Center to submit cases of patients who had recently completed treatment at the facility, using ID numbers, rather than patient names. The cases had to include a wide range of cancers, including breast, prostate, head and neck, lung and other disease sites such as colorectal, brain and cervix. In addition, the cases selected had to include all of the treatment modalities offered as well as treatment planning documentation.

ACR accreditation includes standards for personnel qualifications as well as staffing levels (the number of full-time-equivalent technical employees based on the average number of patients treated). In accordance with ACR standards, all of the center's technical staff - including the radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, medical physicists and medical dosimetrist - are board certified.

"At every level, we met the high standards for accreditation that were established by this independent board of experts whose sole concern is that we are following nationally recognized standards of care," says Ed Lee, Radiation Oncology Center Manager. "We passed the review with no 'exceptions' that would have required corrective action. For our patients, this provides outside assurance that the quality control procedures we follow are second to none."

Lee notes that in addition to providing confirmation of high-quality care to patients who choose Washington Radiation Oncology Center for their treatment, ACR accreditation also offers assurance to outside organizations such as the Veterans Administration, Alameda County and other insurance providers that may refer patients to the facility.

"Our success in gaining ACR accreditation is a reflection of our dedication and the patient-first ethic that is followed throughout Washington Hospital," says Lee. "Our emphasis on quality care and patient safety is a commitment we have made to our community, and that has now been confirmed by this prestigious, impartial team of experts in the field."

The American College of Radiology is the nation's oldest and most widely accepted accrediting organization for radiation oncology. For more information about the ACR and its accreditation process, visit www.acr.org. For more information about the Washington Radiation Oncology Center, visit www.whhs.com/cancer/roc.