The CoC Source - August 1, 2013
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CoC Participates in One Voice Against Cancer's Lobby Day

One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC), a collaboration of national not-for-profit organizations representing millions of Americans, delivered a unified message to Congress and the White House on the need for increased cancer-related appropriations. As OVAC members, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) sent a contingent of CoC members and volunteers to the 2013 Lobby Days, July 8–9.  The attendees representing the CoC included Charles Cheng, MD, FACS; James Hamilton, MD, FACS; Alan Thorson, MD, FACS; Kathryn Hamilton, MA, RD, CDN, CSO; Luana Lamkin, RN, MPH; Rowena Schwartz, PharmD, BCOP; and Nina Miller, MSSW, OSW-C. 

OVAC recognizes the importance of federal funding for cancer research, early detection, prevention, drug development, nurse education, and childhood cancer registries. By making these lifesaving programs a priority, progress continues in the fight against cancer. The CoC contingent visited with Senators and Representatives from their respective states and called on Congress to:

  • End sequestration and stop the cuts to cancer research and prevention funding
  • Increase funding for the fight against cancer

Participants from 19 organizations held 142 House and Senate meetings, including meetings with 68 Senate offices. Close to half of all meetings were member-level.

Readiness Assessment Survey to Be Delivered Soon!

The four advocacy-patient–based member organizations of the CoC—LIVESTRONG Foundation, the Cancer Support Community, the American Cancer Society, and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship—have collaborated to design a Readiness Assessment Survey for distribution to all CoC-accredited programs. These organizations are your allies in ensuring the successful implementation of the 2015 Patient-Centered Standards.

These standards, and specifically the Continuum of Care Standards (Standards 3.1–3.3), represent a pivotal step toward the integration of patient-centered care. These standards address areas of unmet needs that are frequently voiced by the cancer patients and survivors served.

Timely implementation of these standards may be challenging for some CoC programs, but by working together we can make these standards a reality.

Watch for the survey to be delivered soon. Once results are received and tabulated, the CoC and these member organizations will be working to support implementation challenges identified in the survey, and provide programs and resources to enhance patient-centered care. 

CoC Hosts Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 6

The CoC is hosting their annual meeting on Sunday, October 6, 3:00–5:00 pm at the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC, in Marriott Ballroom Salon 2.  More than 300 participants, including surgeons, visiting oncologists, and other health care professionals will be in attendance. This year’s keynote speaker is Sandra M. Swain, MD, immediate past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Dr. Swain has an international reputation as a leading authority in the emergent field of inflammatory breast cancer treatment and in the treatment of early breast cancer. She is also the medical director of the Washington Cancer Institute of the Washington Hospital Center and professor of medicine at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. All Fellows and Clinical Congress participants are invited to attend this meeting, as well as CoC-sponsored educational programming.

Are You Receiving The CoC Brief?

The CoC Brief, a weekly news brief e-mailed every Wednesday, is a digest of current information on cancer care trends, treatments, legislative activity, and issues. To ensure that you receive The CoC Brief, whitelist the sending e-mail address at

Take The CoC Brief with you on your smartphone or tablet. To find the app, search for MultiBriefs on iTunes for iPad and iPhone, on under Apps and Media for Blackberry, and AppBrain or Google Play for Android.

You can access The CoC Brief from the CoC homepage. If you have trouble finding The CoC Brief, please contact Susan Rubin.

Revised Deficiency Resolutions Process

The Deficiency Resolution Process has been revised for 2013 surveys and beyond. You have one year to submit resolution documentation from the time you receive access to your initial Performance Report through CoC Datalinks. This date is also documented on the title page of the Performance Report.

You can now access the Deficiency Resolution link through the SAR menu. Once you open the link, click on the deficiency resolution ribbon that appears on the screen, then click on “Select additional standard for resolution” for each standard that has been found deficient from the survey. You will upload supporting documentation directly into this table. It is required that you enter comments for each standard regarding the resolution. These comments replace the cover letter.

Note: Standards 5.5 and 5.6: To resolve, schedule a time to resubmit data, or questions regarding deficiencies from National Cancer Data Base submission, please contact Jerri Linn Phillips at

Once all documents and comments have been entered for each deficient standard, click on “Submit resolution to CoC” at the bottom of the screen. Resolutions for all deficiencies are to be uploaded before they will be reviewed by the CoC. Required documents to demonstrate compliance can be found at:

  • On the Deficiency Resolution screen, to the right of the listed standard, there will be an icon with the letter R. When you click the icon, it will tell you what documents are required for resolution for that standard.
Deficiencies from 2012 surveys will continue to submit their documentation and cover letter through the Historical Survey Application Record link.

Resolutions are processed within 30 calendar days of receipt by the CoC. The deficiency resolution outcome will be sent by an automated e-mail notification indicating that your performance report has been updated.

Any deficiency resolution e-mailed to Vicki Chiappetta will be directed to resubmit through the CoC Datalinks Database.

Reminder: Time for the Annual Update Period

Correction: The Annual Update Period is for July 15–September 30. This update is required for accredited cancer programs that will be surveyed in 2014 and 2015. 

  • Review ALL Eligibility Requirement (ER) screens that describe your program’s cancer-related resources and services and upload required documentation that may have been revised since the last year (for example, policies, procedures) that describe how these services are provided. If a document has not been revised since your 2012 review, you do not need to upload a new document. If you do upload a revised version of a document that matches your current practice or process, you can delete the older version of the same document.
  • As appropriate to each screen, enter the 2013 date that the revised documentation was discussed at a cancer committee meeting. If a new date cannot be added, override the 2012 date.
  • There will be no additional SAR standard screens to be completed during this period.
The resource and service information completed as part of the ER will be used to update your facility’s profile in the CoC Hospital Locator.

If you require further assistance or have questions, please contact  Please include “Annual Update” in the subject line of your e-mail.


Publication of Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care, Version 1.2 Delayed Until Late September

As described in the May issue of The CoC Source, during the May 16 CoC meeting held at American College of Surgeons headquarters, the Accreditation Committee made three important changes to the CoC Accreditation Program standards and survey process. These changes are:

1. As of July 1, Standard 5.2 will be changed from abstracting timeliness to a new standard focused on Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) participation. The RQRS standard will become effective on January 1, 2014, will be valid for commendation only, and will be part of the Outstanding Achievement Award criteria beginning in 2014.

Abstracting timeliness of 2011 cases will continue to be evaluated during the remaining 2013 surveys.  Any deficiencies given for abstracting timeliness will be resolved by on-time submission of the 2012 cases to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) in January 2014.

2. Immediately eliminate surveyor review of cases selected for one of the Cancer Program Practice Profile Reports (CP3R) measures during the on-site visit.  The review may be reinstated by the Accreditation Committee when needed to validate new performance measures.  Programs will be notified in advance if the review is reinstated.

3. Retire the 2009 Standards from the survey process beginning January 1, 2014. This change will not affect surveys performed during 2013 which will continue to review 2010 and 2011 activity using the old standards and 2012 using the new standards.  For 2014 surveys, the Outstanding Achievement Award criteria will be adjusted to apply to activities in 2012 and 2013 using only Cancer Program Standards 2012: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care.

Development of the RQRS standard is now complete, and the Accreditation Committee will consider this change at the August 20 conference call meeting.  Version 1.2 will be completed following this meeting and published online in late September.  A special issue of The CoC Source will announce the release of Version 1.2.

We apologize for the delay.

If you have questions about the changes described here, please submit them to the CAnswer Forum so that everyone can benefit from the responses.

Important CP3R Update Information

The updated CP3R Report will be released in a few weeks. It will include several modifications as described below.

1.    Survey review of the CP3R for Standards 4.4 and 4.5 is directed toward cases diagnosed in 2010 and subsequently.  In 2014, cases diagnosed in 2010 and 2011 will be surveyed.  Therefore, the CP3R update will involve the diagnosis years 2010 and 2011 that were submitted during 2012 and 2013 Calls for Data.  There are two major implications of this:

a.    The earlier, pre-2010 diagnosis years will no longer be available in the CP3R, so if the program needs to retain any screens for historic information, those screens should be copied by July 31.
b.    Manual edits made in the CP3R not reflected in data submitted to NCDB in 2013 will be lost.
2.    The updated CP3R data will be deduplicated the same way as all other NCDB reports are to make sure no duplicates appear in the tables.  For example, if the case was submitted originally with sequence 00 and later with sequence 01, the case with sequence 01 will replace the case with sequence 00.

3.    The updated CP3R report will keep the existing breast, colon and rectum measures, and add three new breast measures:

a.    Breast conservation surgery rate for women with AJCC clinical stage 0, I, or II breast cancer.
b.    Radiation therapy is considered or administered following any mastectomy within 1 year (365 days) of diagnosis of breast cancer for women with >= 4 positive regional lymph nodes.
c.    Image or palpation-guided needle biopsy (core or FNA) is performed for the treatment of breast cancer.
4.    The computation of passage of time was modified to include cases where the exact day is missing if the month unambiguously falls within the required time interval.  Some programs will see additional eligible cases as a result.

5.    New detailed, easy-to-follow descriptions of all measures will be posted when the CP3R is updated.

NCDB will send an announcement when the updates become available.

New CLP Orientation Video Coming Soon

The Cancer Liaison Initiatives staff will soon release a new video to orientate Cancer Liaison Physicians (CLPs) to their roles.  Much work has been done to revise the main CLP resource—the CLP Information Board.  This online resource provides details on how to successfully fulfill the role of the CLP.  The new orientation video provides step-by-step instruction on how to navigate and get the most out of your CLP Information Board experience.

Attend CoC-Sponsored Educational Sessions at Clinical Congress

Update your knowledge on current cancer management and attend one of the CoC-sponsored educational sessions held during the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, October 6-10 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC:

Monday, October 7, 9:45–11:15 am              
PS105 – Management of Hereditary Colon Cancer Syndrome
Tuesday, October 8, 4:15–5:45 pm
PS233 – Incorporating Palliative Care in Cancer Management

Wednesday, October 9, 12:45–1:45 pm
NL11 – Commission on Cancer Oncology Lecture: Reengineering of Care: Surgical Leadership

Wednesday, October 9, 2:30–4:00 pm
PS323 – Neoadjuvant Therapy: Finding the New Normal in Cancer Treatment     
Visit the CoC booth at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to learn more about CoC Accreditation.

The New American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs Online Education Portal is Now Open

The new American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs Online Education Portal is now open. This new initiative brings together the online educational offerings from the Cancer Programs of the American College of Surgeons, including the Commission on Cancer (CoC), National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), and the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC).

Access the new portal through this link.

Be sure to view the instructional videos to learn how to set up a user ID and password and view the webinars. Through this new portal, CoC webinars are now FREE to cancer program staff in CoC-accredited cancer programs, and accessible by using your CoC Datalinks User ID and Password.  If you or your staff members do not have access to CoC Datalinks, please see the directions below. As it can take up to 3 days to process a request for a new CoC Datalinks user, we recommend that you submit your request immediately to allow processing time.

Special features of the new Cancer Programs Online Education Portal include:

  • Complimentary CoC webinars for all CoC-accredited program staff
  • Multiple search functions available through pull-down menus and a search topic box
  • Easy access to educational webinars developed by all ACoS Cancer Programs
  • Personal user account to access webinars and certificates
  • Instructional videos to use the new site
Existing accounts and contents on the CoC Online Education Portal will not be transferred to the new ACoS Cancer Programs Online Education Portal as new user accounts must be created to access the new site. At this time, webinars are no longer available for purchase on the CoC Online Education Portal and all users of this site will have two months to view any purchased webinars and print off certificates.

Directions to obtain access to CoC Datalinks (do not request access if you are already listed on the contacts page in CoC Datalinks)

-Contact your Registrar or Cancer Program Administrator at your CoC-accredited cancer program to request access to CoC Datalinks.

-The Registrar or Administrator must log into CoC Datalinks and submit the electronic request for the new user via the “Manage Staff Contacts” link on the CoC Datalinks Activity menu.

Please use the Staff Management web page for instructions/information on adding, editing and removing contacts:

-If you do not fit any of the roles in CoC Datalinks, then you should be added as either a “Datalinks Contact” or the most limited access role of “NCDB Tools User”.

-The CoC Datalinks Administrator will process this request (please allow up to 3 business days - processing time).  All new users will receive an email with login information from immediately upon processing.

-Keep your CoC Datalinks User ID and Password available to log in directly to the ACS Cancer Programs Education Portal (when it is available for use).

If you have any questions regarding access, please contact  

View the Videos on the CoC Standards

The CoC has launched a series of 29 free videos, created to assist you in understanding and interpreting the CoC Standards. This series includes an introduction video, two videos describing the Eligibility Requirements, and an additional 26 videos describing select standards.  Each video begins with the definition of the standard, describes the requirements for meeting the standard, and concludes with best practice information. These videos can be viewed individually, or shown during staff meetings to assist in clarifying standards requirements. We hope that you and other members of your cancer committee find these videos useful as you work to implement and maintain compliance with the CoC Standards.

Videos available on the CoC website or on YouTube.

New CoC Webinars Now Available

Learn more about the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) and FORDS through three new webinars available on the ACoS Cancer Programs Online Education Portal.

Erica McNamara, MPH, MM, Quality Improvement Information Analyst for the National Cancer Database of the CoC presents two new pre-recorded webinars on RQRS:

This webinar, designed for individuals new to RQRS, provides a brief overview and describes the benefits and uses of RQRS for individual cancer programs.

This webinar, appropriate for new to intermediate users of RQRS, will cover how to navigate RQRS and use the information obtained for quality improvements in individual cancer programs.

Jerri Linn Phillips, MA, CTR, Manager, Data Standards for the National Cancer Data Base of the CoC presents a new pre-recorded webinar on FORDS:

This new webinar provides important information for intermediate to advanced Cancer Registrars, Co-registrars, Cancer Program Administrators, and other registry staff using FORDS. Three features will be covered in the presentation:
  1. Using the new Country codes
  2. Moving from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM
  3. When a hospital expands by buying medical practices or hiring physicians

Don’t forget, these webinars are complimentary to CoC-accredited cancer program staff accessing through their Datalinks user id, and $50 to all other participants.  Find more information on using your Datalinks user id on the Education Portal's FAQ page.

Be sure to bookmark the new ACoS Cancer Programs Online Education Portal where you will find all of your CoC educational webinars and more!

Save the Date for Survey Savvy 2014

The Survey Savvy workshop will take place June 19–20, 2014, in Chicago, IL. The Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) preconference half-day workshop will be held June 18. If you plan to attend the workshop, mark your calendar today.


Lead Your Breast Program to Excellence Conference
Learn from those who developed the standards
November 15-16, 2013

The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) will host a dynamic two-day conference at The Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL on November 15-16, 2013.  Nationally recognized leaders will discuss critical success factors for comprehensive breast centers.   

Learn how others ‘built’ their multidisciplinary breast center from the ground up using nationally recognized programs. Learn from the experts who developed the standards.  This two-day conference will include nationally recognized authorities discussing:

  • National Quality Programs: The What, Why, and How of NAPBC, NQMBC, and BICOE
  • Developing a High Quality Breast Program
  • Critical Success Factors for Developing Certification/Accreditation-worthy Breast Programs
  • Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness of Breast Center Programs
  • Defining Benchmarks for Breast Centers of Excellence
  • Breast Diagnostic, Treatment, and Management Quality Metrics
  • Aggressive Screening Programs, Patient Navigation, Genetic Risk Assessment and Counseling, Survivorship, and Advocacy
Additional information on this comprehensive conference will be communicated soon!

NAPBC Exhibit Schedule

The NAPBC will have an exhibit at the following meetings:

Breast Cancer Symposium 2013
September 7–9
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco, CA

American College of Surgeons’ Clinical Congress

October 6–10
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
December 10–14
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
San Antonio, TX

If you will be attending these meetings and have questions, or wish to pick up an NAPBC Information Kit, stop by these exhibits.

To learn more about the NAPBC, visit, e-mail, or call 312-202-5185.


NCRA/NPCR Workload and Time Management Study Is Now Available!
The National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) and National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) commissioned a national survey of current practices and staffing at central cancer registries. The NCRA/NPCR Workload and Time Management Study: Guidelines for Central Cancer Registry Programs was designed to provide central cancer registries with national workload and time management data that they can use to help inform decision making about staff size and configuration. Visit to download a complimentary summary of survey findings.

NCRA Podcasts on Coding Best Practices
NCRA launched a new series of podcasts called Coding Best Practices. The first posting is on Text. Visit the Resources section of the NCRA website to listen to the complimentary podcast.

Worker Bee CTRs Needed

The College of American Pathologists Cancer Biomarker Reporting Committee is looking for Certified Tumor Registrars (CTRs) to serve on one or more of its site-specific work groups that are developing protocols for laboratory biomarker measures.

The CTRs will help the pathologists on the committees formulate the protocols to ensure collection of the types of information that registrars need and covers the actual range of information that registrars see for the markers. It is acknowledged that registrars are more familiar with coding concepts than are many pathologists, so every work group will have one or more registrar assigned to it.

Initially, the work groups will address biomarkers used for central nervous system cancers, endometrial cancers, gastric HER2, gastrointestinal stromal tumor, melanoma, and several hematologic cancers. All meetings will be conducted by conference call, no in-person meetings will be necessary. The bulk of the work will be conducted over the next few months, but the work groups will have a continuing responsibility to maintain the protocols as the lab tests evolve.

Interested registrars should apply by completing the survey at the site below by August 15:

If you have any questions, please contact Jerri Linn Phillips at

Monthly Spotlight: Association of Oncology Social Work

The CoC regularly collaborates with over 50 member organizations in its mission to provide quality cancer care. This month we introduce the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW).

The AOSW is a nonprofit, international organization dedicated to the enhancement of psychosocial services to people with cancer and their families. The association’s mission is to advance excellence in the psychosocial care of persons with cancer, their families, and caregivers through advocacy, education, networking, research, and resource development.

The AOSW seeks to accomplish its goals by increasing awareness of the psychosocial effects of cancer; advancing the practice of psychosocial interventions that enhance quality of life and recovery of persons with cancer and their families; fostering communication and support among psychosocial oncology caregivers; furthering the study of psychological and social effects of cancer through research and continuing education; advocating for programs and policies to meet the psychosocial needs of oncology patients and their families, promoting liaison activities with other psychosocial oncology groups and professional oncology organizations; and promoting the highest professional standards and ethics in the practice of oncology social work care.

AOSW recently launched a new website. Visit the website to learn about the role of oncology social workers in cancer care.

Event Information
The 30th Annual Conference will take place in in Baltimore, MD, May 28–30, 2014. At the conference, attendees will celebrates AOSW’s past while and take steps toenhance its future. Attendees will gather information, share knowledge, support and guide each other.

Recent Publications and/or Products
The AOSW has a number of publications for those interested in oncology social work. Of particular interest, the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology published Distress Screening: Approaches and Recommendations for Oncology Social Workers Volume #30 Number 6 in its November/December 2012 issue.

To date, the AOSW Caring for the Caregiver program has had 1,300 caregivers throughout the country participate in this program. The program is facilitated by AOSW members.

In addition to the journal and programs, AOSW published in July 2013 a joint position paper titled “Implementing Screening for Distress” with the American Psychosocial Oncology APOS and the Oncology Nursing Society. Currently in press is I’m Sorry. It’s Cancer: A Handbook of Help and Hope for Survivors and Caregivers by Susan Hedlund and Social Work Practice in Healthcare: Advanced Approaches to Practice.

For more information on this association, please contact:
Association of Oncology Social Workers, 100 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Ph: 215-599-6093 | Fax: 215-564-2175
E-mail: | Website:

Monthly Spotlight: Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association

The Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) is a nonprofit professional organization launched in 2004 by a group of oncology pharmacists to support oncology and hematology pharmacy practitioners, in collaboration with the health care team and patients, and to provide the best possible cancer care. HOPA’s membership is predominantly oncology pharmacists that work in a variety of practice settings and environments. Membership also includes pharmacy students and trainees, technicians, oncology researchers, and administrators specializing in hematology/oncology practice.

HOPA’s focus includes oncology pharmacy professional development, clinical and basic science research, and health care advocacy. HOPA provides a variety of educational programs for oncology pharmacy practitioners via live and virtual continuing education (CE) programs. HOPA develops CE programming each year for pharmacists to maintain board certification for oncology pharmacy, utilized for the recertification of Board Certified Oncology Pharmacists. In addition, oncology pharmacy education offerings are the highlight of the HOPA annual conference, the newly developed HOPA fall meeting, and through the Web-based CE portal, HOPA University. This year HOPA provided an Oncology Pharmacy Review Course prior to the HOPA annual meeting to provide an introductory course for new practitioners.

The HOPA Foundation was formed in 2012 to support research related activities for HOPA members. The HOPA Foundation provides assistance to oncology pharmacy practitioners for projects that support the optimization of care of individuals affected by cancer. In 2012 research grants totaled more than $36,000. Additionally, as oncology pharmacists are an essential member of the interdisciplinary research team, HOPA is currently developing guidelines for Investigational Drug Pharmacy practices.

HOPA’S Health policy and advocacy activities include advocating on behalf of individuals affected by cancer as well as representing hematology and oncology pharmacists across the country in legislative and regulatory endeavours. HOPA strives to increase public and professional awareness of the role of oncology pharmacists on the health care team, and to demonstrate the value of oncology pharmacists and other pharmacy practitioners through partnerships with related organizations. Issues such as drug shortages in oncology practice and improved patient access to oral chemotherapy have been a focus of the advocacy efforts of HOPA. An issue brief on both can be found at

Event Information:

Oncology Pharmacy Practice Management Program

Friday, September 27, 7:00 am–7:00 pm

Sheraton Chicago O’Hare

HOPA recognizes the financial challenges facing many oncology pharmacists: balancing the needs of their departments to incorporate advancing technological resources and services to improve patient care while the health care dollars they have to work with dwindle. This one-day focused program is designed to guide oncology pharmacy providers on how to effectively manage the expensive high-risk care and oncology medications they provide while still allowing for the implementation of new technologies, improvement of safety, and adherence to compliance.

HOPA 10th Annual Conference
March 26–29, 2014
Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Recent Publications and/or Products:
The following articles regarding a HOPA study were recently published.

  • Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association oncology drug shortage study published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (2013;70:609-617).
  • Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association oncology drug shortage study published in June 25, 2013 issue of Oncology Times.
Check out HOPA’s newest webinars, available on the HOPA University website:
  • The Evolving Management of Multiple Myeloma: Pharmacist’s Key Role in Improving Outcomes.
  • Individualized Therapy for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Current Trends in Optimizing Outcomes.
HOPA News is published quarterly. Visit the HOPA website to view current and archived issues.

For more information on this organization, please contact:

Jordan Wildermuth, Health Policy & Advocacy Manager, 4700 W. Lake Ave., Glenview, IL 60025

Ph: 847-375-6736

Email: | Website: