By Lori Newman, Brooke Army Medical Center Public AffairsNovember 6, 2018
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Brooke Army Medical Center maintains multiple accreditations in an effort to ensure patients receive the safe, high quality care they deserve. One of the longest standing accreditations, more than 68 years, is from the Commission on Cancer, a program of the American College of Surgeons.
The Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care.
According to their website, the CoC recognizes cancer care programs for their commitment to providing comprehensive, high-quality and multidisciplinary patient-centered care.
"Accreditation by the Commission on Cancer assures patients that BAMC maintains high standards in cancer care, equivalent to what they would receive in any civilian institution accredited by the CoC," said Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Garth Herbert, surgical oncologist and chair of the BAMC cancer program. "Furthermore, compliance with CoC standards guarantees that patients will be treated with a multidisciplinary, team approach for their cancer, and one that adheres to national, evidence-based guidelines."
All CoC accredited facilities offer assistance with navigating the complexities of cancer care, genetic assessment and counseling when indicated, information regarding clinical trials and appropriate surveillance following cancer treatment.
BAMC's accreditation falls into the Academic Comprehensive Cancer Program category. To maintain this designation, BAMC must participate in postgraduate medical education in at least four program areas, including internal medicine and general surgery. The facility must treat more than 500 newly diagnosed cancer cases each year, and offer the full range of diagnostic and treatment services either on-site or by referral. The facility must also participate in cancer-related clinical research either by enrolling patients in cancer-related clinical trials or by referring patients for enrollment at another facility or through a physician's office.
BAMC offers multiple support groups throughout the year to provide patients and family members the support they need when faced with a serious illness. Support groups topics range from Life After Cancer Diagnosis, Caring for Caregivers and Coping with Loss, to name a few.
The cancer committee at BAMC consists of a diverse, multi-disciplinary group of professionals from all areas of cancer care.
"Optimal care of cancer patients demands close collaboration between the various departments involved, to include Surgery, Hematology Oncology, and Radiation Oncology, as well as numerous supportive services to include Radiology, Pathology, and Physical Therapy to name just a few," Herbert said. "At BAMC, a comprehensive treatment plan is decided upon during multidisciplinary conferences that involve representatives from each of the treating services. This team-based approach is critical to ensuring our cancer patients have the best possible outcomes."
Faunia Rodriguez said she believes the care she is receiving at BAMC is comparable to any top cancer facility in the country.
"I've been treated very well, respectfully," she said. "I feel like they are giving me the best chance I can have at beating this (cancer)."
Rodriguez said she likes the team approach the doctors have taken with her care. "They all work together."