Breast Cancer Center Reaccredited as ‘Center of Excellence’ by NQMBC

Mary Mahoney, MD, reviews a digital mammogram. ‘

The University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute’s Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center has been reaccredited as a “Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence” in the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers (NQMBC) Program—the highest distinction for excellence given by the NQMBC.

The center first gained this recognition in 2013 and remains the only program in the Tristate area and only one of 18 centers nationally to gain this “Center of Excellence” distinction.

“NQMBC is under the umbrella of the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC), aimed at increasing the quality of breast health care provided by professionals to their patients, with 111 centers participating nationwide in the NQMBC program; however, there are only 18 comprehensive centers of excellence. We are one of those,” says Elyse Lower, MD, director of the UC Cancer Institute’s Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center, professor in the division of hematology oncology at the UC College of Medicine and a UC Health oncologist.

“Comprehensive implies that we are certified at the excellence level in screening, diagnosis and treatment, and our center remains the only state or region triple-crowned center, meaning it has gained recognition from the American College of Radiology, National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancers and NQMBC as a Comprehensive Center of Excellence,” she adds. “This truly speaks to the medical excellence present at the UC Cancer Institute and the quality care delivered by breast cancer specialists within our institution.”

The NQMBC Program is a model for breast centers to track and measure quality performance in more than 30 separate quality indicators and identifies quality care measures, providing immediate access to information that allows participating breast centers to compare performance with other centers across the United States.

To gain this certification, the center had to supply data for 90 percent of its measure performances—such as breast imaging, surgical timeliness of care, mammography call back rates, hormone and chemotherapy usage, radiation administration, breast reconstruction outcomes and patient satisfaction survey response rates. This data spans two consecutive collection periods of six months each.

In addition to completing 90 percent of the measures, the center must have performed above the 25th percentile on these metrics.

The NCBC then chooses six additional specific measures, and the center re-submits data on those designated metrics.—three of which must be submitted in the first data collection period and three in the second data collection period.

“Achieving comprehensive status requires the dedicated efforts of breast imaging, surgical oncology, pathology, medical oncology, radiation oncology and plastic/reconstructive surgery,” Lower says. “It takes the expertise of dedicated physicians, nurses, managers and analysts. This is important as the metrics reinforce timeliness of care and state of the art comprehensive breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Continuously monitoring our care provides the opportunity to evaluate new ways to diagnose and treat breast diseases and breast cancers which leads to better patient experience and outcomes.”

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