Contra Costa Regional Medical Center’s (CCRMC) Cancer Program has received the 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. CCRMC was the only hospital in California to win the prestigious award this year.
The Chicago-based Commission on Cancer recognizes accredited cancer programs that achieve excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. The Commission recently recognized what it described as an “elite group” of 20 cancer programs in the United States, including CCRMC, surveyed during the first six months of 2015. CCRMC’s Cancer Program also won the commission’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2009.
“The common perception is that public hospitals like ours can’t provide first-class cancer care. But, in fact, the care our patients get here is the same level of care they’d receive at the best hospitals in the country. This award proves that,” said Dr. Michael Gynn, a surgeon who chairs CCRMC’s cancer committee.
Among those grateful for the exceptional care he received at CCRMC is 67-year-old Frank Bills of Concord. In November 2011, Bills was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body’s immune system. Bills credits the Cancer Program’s medical staff for not only giving him “amazing and wonderful” care, but also for giving him hope.
“There are all these wonderful people there,” Bills said. “I love them with all my heart. I consider them family.”
After administering chemotherapy and other treatments, Bills’ doctors were eventually able to get his multiple myeloma under control. However, earlier this year, Bills learned he had kidney cancer. While that’s not good news, Bills said he knows he will get superior care and service at CCRMC. “I always think, ‘Thank God for this hospital and the people here.’”
CCRMC’s Cancer Program gets about 350 new patients each year and about 4,000 total patient visits annually to its outpatient infusion clinic, according to Dr. Gynn. Colon cancer and breast cancer are the most common cancers among patients who have been diagnosed, he said.
CCRMC actively participates in clinical trials, giving its primarily low-income patients access to cutting edge treatments. The Cancer Program has been recognized on multiple occasions for its high patient participation rates in clinical trials.
CCRMC’s program earned high marks from the Commission on Cancer this year for, among other things, its navigation or coordination-of-care services that help patients with appointments, referrals, transportation, accessing community resources and support services in the county.
Dr. Jane McCormick, the medical director for the Cancer Program, said providing proper care to the hospital’s cancer patients goes beyond medical treatments. It must include other elements, such as financial assistance, counseling and, in some cases, end-of-life planning.
“It takes a team to take care of cancer patients as they go through this scary time. We have one of the best teams around to help our patients and their families every step of the way,” Dr. McCormick said.
CCRMC’s Cancer Program was accredited in 1987 and is part of Contra Costa Health Services, the county health department.
For more information about the Cancer Program and other resources, visitcchealth.org/medicalcenter/cancer.php