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Breast Health Center earns national accreditation

The Breast Health Center at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island recently earned a three-year accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

"This program is a true gem," the surveyor's report reads. "Strengths include the experienced staff and leadership, support teams, interdisciplinary conference, integrative care, social work and breast navigation teams.

"I am greatly impressed by the well-focused, multiple campuses, multidisciplinary breast conference and the case complexity."

It was the first time the Breast Health Center, part of the hospital's Program in Women's Oncology and the most comprehensive source for the care of breast disease in the region, sought accreditation, according to Director Robert D. Legare, MD. After a site visit in late September, the program was awarded the highest level of accreditation from NAPBC and no disciplinary issues were noted.

The surveyor noted the depth and strength of the program, including: Tumor Board, a weekly assembly of specialists who consider each woman's case individually; outreach programming, which was called "a true strength" of the center; and the breast fellowship.

"The Breast Health Center concept was way ahead of its time," Dr. Legare said of the Women & Infants program. "The American College of Surgeons wanted to add quality and structure to programs so it created the NAPBC to cultivate a certain level of quality and complete care for patients.

"The fact that we as a program achieved the highest possible status is noteworthy."

The surveyor was equally enthusiastic, saying, "Overall, the Breast Health Center is a phenomenal program that is an asset to the medical and patient community.

(There is) phenomenal cultural awareness and community outreach. There are several well-defined programs that provide underinsured and uninsured women with screening and a gateway to breast and gynecologic care."

During the site visit, the NAPBC reviewers examined the Breast Health Center against the organization's 27 program standards and 17 program components of care. These elements cover every aspect of patient care, including procedures and surgery, nursing, community outreach, genetic counseling, research, and outcomes. According to the NAPBC, when combined, these elements provide the most efficient and contemporary care available for patients diagnosed with diseases of the breast.

Accreditation is voluntary but a good indicator of quality programs, according to the NAPBC.

In addition to recognizing the Breast Health Center as a model for the multidisciplinary, integrated and comprehensive care of women with breast disease, the accreditation gives the center's staff access to a National Breast Disease Database to report patterns of care and effect quality improvement, and access to breast center comparison benchmark reports that contain national aggregate data and individual center data to assess patterns of care and outcomes relative to national norms.

"The surveyor recognized the strengths of our program," Dr. Legare began. "With access to this information, we will continue to build on our teaching efforts and the clinical research being conducted at the Breast Health Center."

He went on to credit the Breast Health Center team with creating a strong program and preparing for the site visit.

"We have been a world-class, top-notch breast center for years. Our staff worked extremely hard to prepare and the site visit went exceedingly well. We are proud of the quality of care we are able to deliver," he said.


Contact: Susan McDonald
Women & Infants Hospital

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