Cleveland Clinic Florida is the first medical center in Florida and the second in the country to earn accreditation from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer’s (CoC) National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), a new program administered by the ACS CoC, designed to improve rectal cancer care in the United States using a multidisciplinary approach and adherence to evidence-based standards. 
 
The new NAPRC standards were developed to improve outcomes for rectal cancer care in order to lower rates of colostomy construction, local tumor recurrence and improve tumor-free survival rates for patients. The standards are consistent with Cleveland Clinic Florida’s approach to providing rectal cancer patients with high quality care and the accreditation was achieved as a result of the multidisciplinary approach to patient care by the team of specialists at the Digestive Disease Center. 
 
Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Steven D. Wexner, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Colorectal Surgery and Director of the Digestive Disease Center, played an instrumental role in developing the new accreditation program and serves as a lead member of the NAPRC steering committee. Dr. Wexner is a past president of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, and also of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, two of the professional societies who helped support the creation of the NAPRC.
 
“Achieving the NAPRC three-year accreditation status is a testament to the exceptional medical and surgical care our multidisciplinary team from colorectal surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, radiology, and pathology provide patients with rectal cancer,” said Wael Barsoum, MD, CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic Florida. “Dr. Wexner and the entire team in our Digestive Disease Center consistently elevate the quality of care for our patients, and they deserve congratulations and recognition for achieving this accreditation.” 
 
The NAPRC was developed through a collaboration among the OSTRiCh Consortium (Optimizing the Surgical Treatment of Rectal Cancer) and the ACS’ CoC with support from ASCRS, SAGES, the College of American Pathologists, the American College of Radiology, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the Society for Surgical Oncology. Based on successful international models, the quality improvement initiative for rectal cancer care applies specific standards of process measures, quality and performance indicators.
 
According to Dr. Wexner, the mortality index and length of stay outcomes for rectal cancer patients at Cleveland Clinic Florida are far superior to national averages, which he credits to the adoption of the NAPRC standards that have been in development for the past seven years. 
 
“I am proud that our specialists take a collaborative approach to treating patients, resulting in improved outcomes and better quality of life,” said Dr. Wexner. “As more centers achieve NAPRC accreditation, I am confident that U.S. patients will derive the same benefits already achieved through similar programs in other parts of the world.” 
 
Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Department of Colorectal Surgery is the largest colorectal surgery center in Florida and has the largest colorectal residency-training program in North America. In addition, the Gastroenterology and GI surgery department has been consistently ranked within the top 50 programs in the country in U.S. News World Report’s "Best Hospitals" rankings. 
 
The American Cancer Society estimates 43,030 new cases of rectal cancer with be diagnosed this year in the United States. Combined with colon cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the nation.