FirstHealth cancer program received 4th Achievement Award

logoPINEHURST – For the fourth time since 2005, every time for which it has been eligible, the cancer program at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital has received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS).

Established in 2004, the Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes cancer programs that demonstrate excellence by earning commendation for all applicable standards and providing quality care to patients with cancer.

This year, the award went to 75 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the United States, only two of them in North Carolina. The FirstHealth program is one of only six in the country and the only one in North Carolina to have been recognized with the award four times.

Programs are surveyed on three-year accreditation cycles.

“Receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award for the fourth straight time is a prime example of how our health care system and providers work together to provide superior care for our community,” says Dan Barnes, D.O., president of the FirstHealth Physician Group. “Our dedicated physicians and staff provide state-of-the-art cancer care every day, and this recognition is a result of their collaborative efforts to provide the highest quality care for our patients.”

A facility’s cancer program earns the Outstanding Achievement Award by completing the CoC survey and receiving a Performance Report indicating an accreditation award of “Three-Year with Commendation” for ratings on commendation-level standards with no deficiencies. The seven current standards are clinical trial accrual, cancer registrar education, public reporting of outcomes, College of American Pathologists protocols, nursing care, Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) participation and accuracy of data.

The 75 programs receiving the most recent Outstanding Achievement Award were surveyed during 2014 and represent only about 15 percent of the cancer programs surveyed during that period. Most of the recipients are community-based facilities, although the number also includes academic hospitals, integrated networks and one Veterans Affairs facility.

FirstHealth’s cancer services include medical oncology and hematology, radiation oncology and gynecologic oncology. Services are provided at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst and FirstHealth Sanford Hematology Oncology (a division of Moore Regional Hospital) in Sanford.

“This award recognizes not only the quality of the services provided to the cancer patients at Moore Regional, but also the variety of support services provided to those patients,” says Ellen Willard, M.D., a medical oncologist and hematologist and medical director of the FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center.

According to Jeffrey C. Acker, M.D., medical director of Radiation Oncology, the award represents a team effort involving FirstHealth’s Tumor Registry, administration and cancer support staff as well as the involved physicians.

“All played an important role in attaining this honor, which assures our patients that our cancer program goes above and beyond national standards to deliver the best oncology care available,” Dr. Acker says. “The fact that we have received this award over four consecutive three-year review cycles indicates long-term dedication to excellence from our doctors accompanied by strong underlying support from the entire cancer services team.”

The Commission on Cancer is a program of the American College of Surgeons that recognizes cancer care programs for their commitment to providing comprehensive, high-quality and multidisciplinary patient-centered care. Through the CoC, a cancer program has access to reporting tools that aid in benchmarking and improving cancer outcomes as well as educational and training opportunities, development resources and advocacy.

For more information on the cancer services provided by FirstHealth of the Carolinas, visit

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