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Radiology Oncology seeks accreditation

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The Radiology Oncology Clinic’s leadership is seeking specialized review and accreditation of their physics and dosimetry process and an American College of Radiation Oncology accreditation here.

The accreditations will give the clinic staff an opportunity to provide care to more patients.

“A few years ago there was a concern about Veterans Affairs sending patients to non-accredited providers,” said Col. Jason Hayes, 81st Diagnostic and Therapeutics Squadron medical director. “In 2010 a VA center in New Jersey was found to have over-radiated 36 cancer patients and under-radiated several others. This prompted the VA to require either ACRO or American College of Radiology accreditation on all treatment centers treating their patients.”

Of the 34 patients being treated at the Keesler Medical Center, 19 of them are from the VA.

“Those requiring radiology oncology have to drive upwards of an hour away,” said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Carentz, 81st Medical Group joint venture coordinator. “That is no longer the case with the clinic standing up.”

The staff is pursuing physics and dosimetry process accreditation through the Radiation Physics Center in Houston. This process requires physicians to use mimic patients, known as phantoms, to assess treatment delivery.

“We have already started this process and completed our first of three phantoms,” Hayes said.

The ACRO accreditation grades not only the physicians but also the way they manage their patients. It is a complete review of the entire treatment process.

“They do chart reviews, practice surveys and an on-site visit,” Hayes said. “This involves an assessment of the entire radiation oncology treatment team including physicians, nurses, physicists, dosimetrists and therapists.”

Hayes said he is hoping the clinic is fully accredited by July 2018.

“Being accredited will confirm to us, our patients, and the VA medical centers that we are providing safe and appropriate care,” Hayes said.