The Commission on Cancer approval is bestowed only to programs that meet national quality care standards in 34 key areas
By: Margarita Oksenkrug
Lenox Hill Hospital has been granted accreditation by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) for its cancer program, which is part of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, one the largest oncology programs in the New York metropolitan area. Lenox Hill is one of six CoC-accredited medical centers in Manhattan and the ninth Northwell hospital to receive the coveted recognition.
To earn this voluntary accreditation, a cancer program must meet national quality care standards in 34 key areas and maintain specific levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive, patient-centered care.
“This very important accreditation is the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication on the part of our talented clinicians and staff,” said Dennis Kraus, MD, vice chair of the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and director of the center for head and neck oncology, who led the charge on pursuing the CoC accreditation. “It highlights the exceptional level of comprehensive, innovative and personalized cancer care we offer at Lenox Hill.”
The Cancer Institute at Lenox Hill provides access to coordinated inpatient, surgical and outpatient programs at convenient locations throughout Manhattan. The vast multidisciplinary network of specialized clinicians offers services at Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital (MEETH), Lenox Heath Greenwich Village and at nearby physician practices, all of which share electronic medical records to allow for seamless, integrated care.
Lenox Hill’s cancer program offers a broad array of oncology services in more than a dozen clinical specialties, including breast surgery, gynecologic oncology, gastrointestinal cancer, head and neck surgery, neurosurgery, urologic surgery and thoracic surgery. The state-of-the-art imaging services and radiation therapy options are complemented by the recently expanded medical oncology program. Prominent cancer experts — renowned for their work in clinical care, research and education — are continually recruited to leadership positions.
As a CoC-accredited facility, Lenox Hill takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer and offers options that focus on the full spectrum of oncologic care, including prevention, early diagnosis, innovative therapies, surgical intervention, rehabilitation, follow-up for recurrent disease and end-of-life care. In addition to the latest medicine-based therapies and surgical interventions, cancer patients are offered a diverse suite of psycho-social support services, including social work, patient navigation, nutritional and genetic counseling, support groups and palliative care.
Patients are also granted full access to information on clinical trials, new treatments and genetic counseling. Northwell has been a leader in cancer clinical trials for more than 30 years and offers 150 active trials at any given time. The Cancer Institute collaborates with researchers at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, as well as cooperative groups across the country to provide access to the latest clinical trials.
Like all other programs accredited by the CoC, Lenox Hill maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society. The nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world and is used to analyze trends in cancer care. This gives Lenox Hill access to exclusive information used to create national, regional and state benchmark reports, which in turn help hospital leadership develop essential quality improvement initiatives.
“We are extremely proud to receive a national accreditation from the Commission on Cancer, as this recognition validates that we are well equipped to compete with the top cancer programs in the country,” said Mark Schiffer, MD, executive director of Lenox Hill Hospital. “The cutting-edge oncology programs and services being offering in Manhattan add to Northwell’s long history of delivering superior cancer care to diverse communities throughout the New York metro area.”
Northwell Health Cancer Institute, which brings comprehensive care and support to patients throughout Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester, Queens and greater Manhattan, is one of the largest cancer programs in the country with a team of more than 200 world-class oncology experts across 25 medical disciplines who diagnose and treat 19,000 new cancer patients each year. It seamlessly integrates world-class hospitals, innovative treatments and leading oncology experts that can treat the most complex cancer cases.
Under the direction of Richard Barakat, MD, physician-in-chief and director of cancer, the Institute’s priorities include continued investment in Manhattan oncology services, expansion of clinical trials, development of specialized cancer programs, establishment of centers of excellence in pancreatic care and oncology care for pregnant women, and enhancement of cancer services within the health system’s eastern region in Suffolk County.
According to the New York State Department of Health, more New Yorkers choose Northwell for cancer care than any other health system. In addition to the CoC accreditation, the Institute’s programs have been accredited by several other leading cancer care organizations, including the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery (AIMIS), the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), and the American College of Radiology (ACR).
The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2021 and projects more than 600,000 deaths from the disease. After increasing for most of the 20th century, the cancer death rate has been steadily decreasing from its peak three decades ago, for a total decline of 31 percent due to a reduction in smoking, as well as improvements in early detection and treatment. Even with the drop in death rates, cancer continues to be the second most common cause of death in men and women in the US.
Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving patient outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons.