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Mercy North Breast Center Earns National Accreditation

KNOXVILLE -- The Mercy Medical Center North Breast Center is the first breast center in the Knoxville area to earn accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) administered by the American College of Surgeons.

"After reviewing a year's worth of data and conducting on-site inspections, the breast center at Mercy North has earned this designation by meeting the NAPBC's rigorous standards and criteria for the diagnosis and treatment of breast diseases," said Jeffrey A. Ashin, MHP's President and CEO. "This accreditation is important to our patients and their families as it demonstrates Mercy's commitment to using the same evidence-based, state-of-the-art detection and treatment services that are found at the nation's leading cancer centers.

"I salute the staff at the Mercy North Breast Center for passing this demanding accreditation process that proves you can get the best in care for breast diseases close to home," Ashin added.

Guiding the medical services offered through Mercy North Breast Center is a team of physicians that deal with the different aspects of helping to diagnosis and treat cancer including gynecologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and pathologists. Caren Gallaher, M.D., a board-certified surgeon, is the Breast Panel Leader for the breast center.

"This accreditation is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the physicians, administrators, therapists, technicians, data analysts and care providers associated with the Mercy Breast Center," Dr. Gallaher said. "The NAPBC was constructed by a consortium of professional organizations who were very interested in insuring a standard for the highest quality of care through outcome monitoring.

"Unlike other 'comprehensive' or 'certified' centers, the NAPBC evaluates 27 standards and 17 components that make up a multidisciplinary system. This signifies that all components of managing breast health and disease including breast cancer are in place and meet these excellent standards. Accreditation means that we have state-of-the-art services, a multidisciplinary team for coordinated care, clinical trial access plus prevention strategies in place and easily accessible in a coordinated fashion. This confirms that Mercy is a center of excellence in breast care. I am so grateful to have such a fabulous team to help me do my job," Dr. Gallaher added.

Crystal Dugger, RN, the Mercy Oncology Health Service Line Leader, said the Mercy North Breast Center had to meet 27 programs standards and 17 program components of care to be accredited. "The NAPBC differs from other evaluations in that it looks at the breast center's entire program for detecting and treating breast diseases.

"The NAPBC certification ensures a patient that the center uses a multidisciplinary team approach to coordinating the best available treatment options, provides information about ongoing cancer clinical trials and new treatment options, provides access to prevention and early detection programs, provides the community with cancer education and support services, and has ongoing monitoring and improvements in cancer care.

"The evaluators were particularly impressed with Mercy Cancer Center's Compassion in Action fund that raises money to help low-income citizens of our community pay for needed services such as mammograms and cancer treatment," Dugger said.

"This NAPBC recognition demonstrates the overall excellence of the Mercy North Breast Center program. The breast center's goal is to have a program that meets all national standards for care and treatment so that if your mother, your sister or your daughter has a breast disease, you can rest assured she is receiving the best medical care available today," Dugger added.

Dugger saluted Ellen Perkins, Mercy's Cancer Quality Coordinator, for her work in making sure the Mercy North's Breast Center meets and exceeds the standards of quality care. "Ellen's guidance in helping to develop measurable outcomes for our breast cancer patients was one of the critical action steps for accreditation. She was one of many people who put in long hours while completing the accreditation application, which resulted in Mercy being the first in Knoxville to receive the NAPBC accreditation," Dugger said.

Published January 31, 2011

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