COVID-19 and Its Impact on Cancer Programs

As we continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 in the United States and continue canceling meetings to avoid travel and risks of exposure, many families are also concerned about their loved ones currently going through cancer treatment.  And many others are currently being diagnosed with cancer during this worldwide pandemic.  The big question is how does this impact those hospitals with a Cancer Program?

On April 2, 2020, the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) sent out a newsletter stating that ACS Accreditation and Verification Programs have been granted an extension of one year for hospitals currently accredited and verified. This will include all programs due for a site visit in 2021, 2022, and 2023. This additional year will extend the standard three-year verification to a four-year verification, for sites in good standing. For those programs with an already scheduled 2020 site visit date their on site visit will be pushed back by six-months, resulting in site visits resuming in mid-September/October at the earliest and continuing into 2021 until all originally scheduled 2020 site visits have been completed. The ACS is hoping that this one-year extension will help to alleviate the time and effort usually required to prepare an on-site review. 

On May 6, 2020, the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) hosted a CAnswer Forum Live Webinar that spoke in part about the impact on Cancer Programs. Connie Bura, Administrative Director of ACoS, stated that at this time hospitals are not required to meet standards, as their prime concern is to delegate their resources to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accredited Cancer Programs will not be penalized but are encouraged to document their facility issues and movement of resources during this time in their Cancer Committee minutes to show how their program was impacted.  

As our daily lives continue to evolve into a new normal so will our cancer programs and current treatment for the patients.  Facilities must continue to treat those diagnosed with cancer in a timely manner.  We are all in this together.   


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