By D.F. Kratzer WHEELING—Representatives of Wheeling Hospital announced at a June 4 press conference that the hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Program received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (CoC). “I’m very proud of our cancer care team,” said Ron Violi, chief executive officer of Wheeling Hospital, who was unable to attend the press conference. “We have nearly 100 professionals on the team who dedicate themselves day in and day out to fighting cancer. Some people believe they need to travel outside of our area to larger hospitals or cities for quality cancer care. Our region is so fortunate to have such care right here, so close to home.” Wheeling Hospital’s is the first program in West Virginia to receive the recognition, which is the program’s second major honor this year—having been deemed “impeccable” and issued a Three-Year Approval Award with Commendation by the CoC—and was one of 66 programs in the country to receive the award. Nationally, 453 cancer programs were surveyed and only 15 percent were chosen for recognition, which recognizes cancer programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to patients. At the press conference, Dr. Angelo Georges, chief medical officer of Wheeling Hospital, lauded the cancer care center staff for receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award, which, he said, “is really quite a feat” considering few hospitals are honored and many larger, metropolitan hospitals have consummate services. On behalf of Wheeling Hospital’s staff and Violi, Georges extended “our sincere congratulations” to the “outstanding” physicians and staff of the center. Jondavid Pollock, radiation oncologist at the hospital’s Schiffler Cancer Center, said, “the award is further evidence that the cancer care program at Wheeling Hospital exceeds not only other regional hospitals, but more importantly, the majority of community-based cancer programs throughout the nation. “Cancer care throughout the U.S., in particular the Upper Ohio Valley,” he continued, “remains a local priority. As such, Wheeling Hospital’s cancer personnel continue to maintain the necessary tools to effectively deal with this disease and provide that level of treatment so patients do not need to leave this community.” A physician surveyor conducts the on-site evaluation process for the award and the facility must demonstrate exemplary levels of compliance in the following standards, which represent the full scope of the cancer program: cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach and quality improvement. CoC-approved cancer programs, like Wheeling Hospital, ensure that patients have access to comprehensive care, including a range of state-of-the-art services and equipment; a multi-specialty, team approach to coordinate the best treatment options; information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options; access to cancer-related information, education and support; a cancer registry that collects data on types and stages of cancers and treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up; ongoing monitoring and improvement of care; and quality care close to home. Wheeling Hospital’s 16,000-square-foot Schiffler Cancer Center Radiation Division is internationally recognized and has, under the direction of Dr. Gregory Merrick, treated patients from 34 states and 12 countries. Recently, a 7,200-square-foot expansion to the center—the Medical Oncology Division—began providing services to patients.