Cancer center earns award: Patient surveys lead to excellence honor; facility places in top 10 percent


GREENFIELD — Free massages, art therapy, a cozy fireplace in the wintertime and a courtyard for the summer — at the Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center, patients are promised comforting care in a time of crisis.

Those efforts have been recognized with a national award given to healthcare centers whose patients report having received excellent service. The cancer center at Hancock Regional Hospital earned a five-star Excellence Award for overall quality of care in outpatient services from Professional Research Consultants, a national healthcare market research company that conducts patient satisfaction surveys for the hospital.

The cancer center, which opened in 2015 and serves nearly 500 patients per year, scored in the top 10 percent of the 2,000 healthcare organizations served by PRC in 2016, according to its website.

PRC prides itself on conducting research that gives patients a voice in recognizing the best in healthcare. The company contacted some 20 patients a month being treated at the cancer center, which offers chemotherapy, radiation and hematology services, said director Linda Zerr.

And those patients overwhelmingly applauded the facility, the staff and the treatment they received.

Ron Collins calls the doctors and nurses at the center his angels. He completed radiation treatments in December for prostate cancer, but he still visits once a month or so to bring everyone a box of cookies, he said.

“The ladies down there, they treated me really well,” he said. “I had a real good experience.”

Staff members have made an impression on the family members of patients, as well. Brooke Melton, whose grandfather is currently undergoing treatment at the center, said the positive, uplifting atmosphere in the building goes a long way to keeping patients and their families relaxed.

“It’s a beautiful building … filled with friendly faces,” she said.

Zerr said those stories — and the award that followed them — confirm what she already knew, that her staff members provide the level of care they’d want to give to their own families.

The cancer center celebrated its five-star award this month at a national healthcare conference in Austin, Texas, where some 70 hospitals from across the country were recognized for their achievements, said PRC representative Dani Hatfield.

In addition to award given to the cancer center, the hospital also received four four-star ratings — for those who score in the top 25 percent — in the following categories: as a place to practice medicine, laboratory services, administration and physician services, Hatfield said.

PRC compares the patient satisfaction of cancer centers and other health care facilities across the country, proving county residents don’t have to leave their community to receive high-quality care, Zerr said.

The cancer center, named for a Morristown woman who died in 2015 after fighting breast and lung cancer, employs 18 staff members, including nurses, administrators and radiation therapists who care for patients receiving treatment for cancer or blood disorders, Zerr said.

Hospital CEO Steve Long said he’s thrilled — but not surprised — the cancer staff members are receiving a recognition they so deserve.

“We have invested heavily into the experience that patients receive,” Long said. “We have combined the very best technology, a beautiful facility, skilled physicians … and the kindest and most experienced nurses and technicians we could find, who also happen to be our neighbors.”

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The Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center:

  • opened in 2013 at Hancock Regional Hospital, 801 N. State St.
  • is named for a former cancer patient who battled lung and breast cancer
  • treats 500 patients per year suffering from cancer or blood disorders
  • provides support groups, art therapy and other social support programs for patients.

Source: Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center

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Hancock Regional Hospital and its attached Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center were recently honored with national awards for excellence in:

  • Patient satisfaction
  • Laboratory service
  • Work environment to practice medicine
  • Adminsitration services
  • Physician services

Awards were given by Professional Research Consultants, a national medical research company serving some 2,000 healthcare facilities.

Source: PRC