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Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center Earns Tennessee’s First National Rectal Cancer Accreditation

Posted on December 22, 2022 in News

NAPRC accreditation is given for high standards of multidisciplinary patient care

KNOXVILLE, TENN. – Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, a member of Covenant Health, 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 the state 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, according to the NAPRC. 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 Medical Center 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.”