FORT HOOD, Texas - Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center received a three-year accreditation with commendation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.
"The three-year accreditation with commendation is the highest level that the ACoS can grant," according to Dr. Wayne Schirner, Darnall's cancer committee community outreach coordinator and cancer liaison physician. Schirner is also director of medical education at Darnall. "Nationally, only 40 percent of cancer programs receive this level of accreditation, he added.

Darnall received the three-year accreditation with commendation following the on-site evaluation by a physician surveyor. During this visit, Darnall demonstrated a "commendation level" of compliance with one or more standards that represent the full scope of the cancer program. Standards cover such areas as cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach, and quality improvement.

"Congratulations to all who helped make this survey a success," Schirner said. "Most importantly, thanks to Ms. Carol Groves, cancer registrar, Ms. Sylvia Castillo, assistant cancer registrar, Maj. (Dr.) Ricardo Young, committee chairman, and to Ms. Edna Figueroa-Dias, registered nurse, who ensure that we are doing the right things all year long. I remain proud to work with such wonderful and dedicated staff."

The Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of quality care. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and 42 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.

Approximately 1.4 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society.

"CRDAMC diagnoses a approximately 125 new cancer cases per year in the Fort Hood community with various forms of cancer," Groves said.

"It's programs like ours that save lives and improves the quality of life of military health care beneficiaries," Schirner said.