The Star-Herald

Cancer center earns national certification

CARIBOU, Maine — The Jefferson Cary Cancer Center at Cary Medical Center has been recognized by the QOPI Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, for successfully completing a three-year certification program for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet nationally recognized standards for quality cancer care.

“We’re extremely proud to receive this certification from the QOPI Certification Program, which underscores our commitment to excellence for our patients,” said Regen Gallagher, DO, Cary chief medical officer and JCCC administrator.

“Achieving QOPI certification is the culmination of a coordinated effort on the part of the Jefferson Cary Cancer Center, the Cary Pharmacy and Pines Health Services, all working together to ensure that our patient’s receive the highest quality cancer care,” Gallagher said. “We sought to achieve this voluntary certification to show our commitment to excellent care that meets national standards for our patients.”

Dr. Nadia Rajack, hematologist/oncologist with the Jefferson Cary Cancer Center, (JCCC), and Jennifer Plant, RN, JCCC manager, cut a celebratory cake to share with staff after receiving word they earned Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) certification from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. (Courtesy of Cary Medical Center)

In applying for certification, the cancer center participated in a voluntary comprehensive site assessment against clearly specified standards that are consistent with national guidelines, and successfully met the standards and objectives of QCP.

“ASCO’s QOPI Certification demonstrates an oncology practice’s dedication to providing high-quality care to patients with cancer,” said ASCO President Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO. “The certification process is rigorous and by successfully completing it, providers put into practice their commitment to quality and safety excellence and continuous optimization of their processes.”

The voluntary self-assessment and improvement program began in 2006 to help hematology-oncology and medical oncology practices assess the quality of the care they provide to patients. More than 900 oncology practices have registered for the QOPI program. The certification component was launched in January 2010, and more than 290 practices are currently certified. This certification for outpatient oncology practices is the first program of its kind for oncology in the United States and in 2016 was expanded internationally.

The QCP seal means practices have successfully met the standards and objectives of the certification program, which includes scoring above the threshold on key quality measures and meeting chemotherapy safety standards established by ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society.

QOPI  analyzes individual practice data. Individual practices can compare their performance to data from other practices across the country and, based on this feedback, identify areas for improvement.

To achieve certification, practices have to submit to an evaluation of their entire practice and documentation standards. QCP staff and task force members then verify through an on-site survey that the evaluation and documents are correct and that the practices met core standards in areas of treatment, including: creating a safe environment; treatment planning, patient consent and education; ordering, preparing, dispensing and administering chemotherapy; monitoring after chemotherapy is administered, including adherence, toxicity and complications; staff training and education; chemotherapy orders and drug preparation; safe chemotherapy administration; and monitoring and assessment of patient well-being.

The Jefferson Cary Cancer Center opened in 2005 and provides patients a window-view chemotherapy treatment area with heated chemotherapy chairs. The center was designed so patients have the option of having curtains drawn for privacy, or a more open area where they can visit with other patients experiencing therapy.

The center houses offices for two oncologists and has a central nurse’s work station. Decor includes wood design, soft colors and local photography featuring County scenery.  

Gallagher acknowledged the efforts of Dr. Nadia Rajack, hematologist/oncologist, along with the center team of clinical and support staff. “While we are disappointed that Dr. Rajack will be leaving us to complete a fellowship, we are most grateful for her efforts, along with staff, in helping us to achieve this prestigious milestone.”

“And we are very excited to announce the return of Dr. Allan Espinosa, a noted hematologist/oncologist who previously worked at the center, and will be returning after spending time at the Ohio State University Medical Center,” she added.

Espinosa will be joined this coming summer by Dr. Dimas Yusef, who is currently completing a medical oncology fellowship at the Cross Cancer Institute at the University of Alberta.

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