USA Health earns accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer
USA Health is the first health system in Alabama and the upper Gulf Coast region to earn the three-year accreditation.
USA Health is the first health system in Alabama and the upper Gulf Coast region to earn a three-year accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), a quality program of the American College of Surgeons.
To achieve voluntary NAPRC accreditation, a rectal center must demonstrate compliance with the NAPRC standards addressing program management, clinical services, and quality improvement for patients. Centers are required to establish a multidisciplinary rectal cancer team that includes clinical representatives from surgery, pathology, radiology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology. About 60 health systems in the nation hold the accreditation.
Lee Grimm, Jr., M.D., Colon and Rectal Cancer Program leader at USA Health, established the multidisciplinary rectal cancer team at USA Health in 2015. “This accreditation points to the expertise of the physicians we have at USA Health and the dedication we have to treating patients with rectal cancer,” said Grimm, a colorectal surgeon and professor of surgery at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama.
USA Health’s program met standards addressing the clinical services that the rectal cancer program provides, including Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA testing), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Computerized Tomography (CT) imaging for cancer staging, which allow patients to start treatment within a defined timeframe. Rectal cancer programs accredited by the NAPRC undergo a site visit every three years and are also accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.
Taken together, colon and rectal cancer are the third most common cause of cancer diagnosis and death in the United States. Rectal cancer can be difficult to treat because of the rectum’s proximity to other vital organs and because it often is diagnosed at an advanced stage, Grimm said. In addition, treatment for rectal cancer can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life.
National accreditation demonstrates that a health system has the necessary breadth and expertise to treat those difficult cases, Grimm said. “Studies have shown that when rectal cancer is treated at a high-volume center, patients have better outcomes,” he said.
Accreditation by the NAPRC is granted only to those programs that are committed to providing the best possible care to patients with rectal cancer. The NAPRC provides the structure and resources to develop and operate a high-quality rectal center, and accredited programs follow a model for organizing and managing a rectal center to ensure multidisciplinary, integrated, comprehensive rectal cancer services.