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A Year of Excellence

Posted on January 11, 2023 in Awards

A look back on Fort Sanders Regional achievements in 2022

At Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, we take our pledge of excellence to heart. Every day, we put our patients first and provide high-quality care, which is affirmed through nationally recognized awards and accreditations. Thanks to our dedicated employees, we continued this tradition of excellence in 2022.

First in State with a Nationally Accredited Program for Rectal Cancer

Fort Sanders Regional has earned a three-year accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), a quality program of the American College of Surgeons. It is the first hospital in Tennessee to receive the accreditation.

According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 45,000 Americans will be diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2022 and the overall five-year survival rate is 67 percent, depending on the spread of the cancer.

Accreditation is granted only to those programs that are committed to providing the best possible care to patients with rectal cancer. To achieve voluntary accreditation, a rectal center must demonstrate compliance with the NAPRC standards addressing program management, clinical services and quality improvement for patients. Additionally, the program must meet standards for various testing and imaging procedures for cancer staging that allow patients to begin treatment within a defined timeframe.

Centers also are required to establish a multidisciplinary rectal cancer team that includes clinical representatives from surgery, pathology, radiology, radiation oncology and medical oncology.

The accreditation affirms the close collaboration between the clinicians at Fort Sanders Regional and Covenant Health’s Thompson Cancer Survival Center, who already meet weekly for a multidisciplinary review of complex colorectal cancer cases.

“The Fort Sanders Regional team worked diligently alongside the staff at Thompson Cancer Survival Center to build a program that demonstrates the high accreditation standards set by NAPRC,” said Keith Altshuler, president and chief administrative officer of the medical center. “Fort Sanders Regional has a rich history of raising the bar for the services we provide to the East Tennessee region, and this accreditation is representative of the care our community expects from us.”

“We wanted to find a way to address the fact that rectal cancer isn’t being treated well in rural areas,” said Greg Midis, MD, surgical oncologist at Fort Sanders Regional. “Bringing together experts from different specialties who can ensure that we meet the rigorous standards of rectal cancer treatment shows our commitment to improving care for these patients. We mark this achievement not just for Fort Sanders Regional, but for the whole community.

“It’s significant to be the first facility in the state of Tennessee and among one of the few in the country that has a Rectal Cancer Center of Excellence. This effort is built on the backbone of the nurse navigators and other providers who are dedicated to delivering exceptional cancer care to our patients.”

To learn more about cancer care, including rectal cancer at Fort Sanders Regional, visit ThompsonCancer.com.

An “A” Rating for Safety

Fort Sanders Regional received an “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group. This national distinction recognizes Fort Sanders Regional’s achievements in patient safety.

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns letter grades to general hospitals throughout the United States based on a hospital’s ability to prevent medical errors and harm to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Hospital Safety Grade results are based on more than 30 national performance measures and are updated each fall and spring.

To see Fort Sanders Regional’s full grade details and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit HospitalSafetyGrade.org.

Keeping Babies Sleeping Safely

Fort Sanders Regional was again recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a “Bronze Safe Sleep Hospital” for the hospital’s commitment to best practices and education related to infant safe sleep. 

The certification program was created by Cribs for Kids®, the only national infant-safe sleep organization. As a nationally certified Safe Sleep Hospital, Fort Sanders Regional is recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and providing training programs for healthcare team members and family caregivers.

The Bronze recognition certifies that Fort Sanders Regional develops a safe sleep policy statement incorporating the AAP’s Infant Safe Sleep guidelines, educates parents on the importance of safe sleep practices and trains staff on safe sleep guidelines and the hospital’s safe sleep policy.

To learn more about our women’s services and safe sleep tips for your baby, visit FSRegional.com/Womens-Services.

Award-Winning Cardiac and Stroke Care

Offering the best cardiac and stroke care is a top priority at Fort Sanders Regional. Our high-quality care was recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, which awarded six quality achievement awards to the hospital this year.

Advanced Cardiac Care

The American Heart Association created the Mission: Lifeline® program to support heart attack care that follows protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. The goal of this initiative is prompt treatment for heart attacks, continuing through hospital care and discharge. Fort Sanders Regional received the Mission: Lifeline® Gold Plus Receiving Quality Achievement Award for timely treatment of heart attack patients through emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries when needed. In addition, the hospital received the Mission: Lifeline® NSTEMI Gold Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer heart attacks.

The designations support Fort Sanders Regional’s Heart Center’s reputation for comprehensive cardiovascular services and treating patients with some of the most complex cardiac issues. To learn more about our award-winning cardiac care, visit FSRegional.com/Cardiology.

Advanced Stroke Care

The American Stroke Association recognizes hospitals that adhere to the latest scientific evidence and guidelines to ensure stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment. Fort Sanders Regional was awarded the Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for meeting stringent quality and achievement measures. Receiving the association’s Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll award places the hospital in the top ranks of stroke centers in the U.S. Additionally, Fort Sanders Regional received the Target: Stroke Advanced Therapy Honor Roll award. The recognition is given to hospitals that achieve door-to-device times (arrival to first pass with thrombectomy device) within 90 minutes for direct-arriving patients, and within 60 minutes for transfer patients in 50 percent or more of acute ischemic stroke patients treated with endovascular therapy. Finally, Fort Sanders Regional again received the Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To qualify, hospitals must meet specific quality measures with more than 90 percent compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”

These achievements reinforce Fort Sanders Regional’s standing as a Stroke Center of Excellence. We’re the only facility in the region to hold both a Comprehensive Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission and two separate stroke accreditations from the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. To learn more about our accomplished stroke center, visit FSRegional.com/Stroke.