Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Receives American College of Surgeons’ Highest Cancer Performance Approval

Awarded Three-Year Approval with Commendation from the Commission on Cancer

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Brunswick, NJ – Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital joins the list of the nation’s best ranked cancer centers by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer after having earned its highest cancer care performance rating, “Approval with Commendation,” following a stringent on-site performance evaluation conducted in early August.

“This is a major distinction, one that we are proud of, but it’s also something we’re not surprised by…we know, and more importantly, our patients understand that we provide the absolute best cancer care. The hallmarks of that care are great people, new medicines and technologies as well as access to the latest cancer research. This approval means we exceed national standards and continue to uphold principles of excellence in the treatment of our cancer patients each and every day,” said Stephen K. Jones, interim President and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is the flagship hospital of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ). CINJ is the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and one of only 39 such centers nationwide.

“Cancer is a frightening truth when a family or individual is confronted with it. We do not invite the intense scrutiny of the Commission so we can pat ourselves on the back and tell each other how well we’re doing – we do it so our patients will take some comfort in knowing that when they are facing cancer, we are right there with them to make sure they receive the absolute latest advances in medicine and research, and the highest level in patient safety and quality cancer care,” said Rachel Behrendt, MSN, RN, OCN, Oncology Nurse Educator at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

A ‘Three-Year Approval with Commendation’ represents the top rating issued by the Commission and is awarded to programs that comply with all standards and receive a commendation rating for one or more of the eligible standards. The Commission’s evaluation of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital was rigorous and the hospital’s first as a NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Program. It differs from previous Commission evaluations and from those of other hospitals because the criteria for NCI Comprehensive Care facilities are much tougher.

“The recognition by the Commission acknowledges the outstanding work of our oncology nurses and physicians. Through their dedication and hard work our patients receive top-notch care at one of the state's leading hospitals. The partnership between Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey ensures that all New Jerseyans receive the best possible care close to home,” stated Molly Gabel, MD, chair of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Cancer Committee and the Deputy Director for Extramural Affairs at CINJ.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital ’s 123-bed cancer center provides comprehensive and individualized care in the treatment of cancer including chemotherapy, medical oncology, hematology-oncology, surgical oncology and bone marrow transplantation. The hospital also provides positron emission tomography (PET) scanning, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), brachytherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, extracranial radiosurgery, and precise high-dose radiation treatment, as well as CT (computed tomography) simulation, a body scanning technology providing high-resolution images to map tumor location. All rooms are private with hotel-style amenities, room service dining and sleeping accommodations for a family member. In 2005, nearly 1,200 patients with cancer were admitted for care at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

What is the Commission on Cancer?

According to its website (, the Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care. Established by the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) in 1922, the multi-disciplinary Commission on Cancer (CoC) sets standards for quality multidisciplinary cancer care delivered primarily in hospital settings; surveys hospitals to assess compliance with those standards; collects standardized and quality data from approved hospitals to measure treatment patterns and outcomes; and uses the data to evaluate hospital provider performance and develop effective educational interventions to improve cancer care outcomes at the national and local level. Multidisciplinary Commission membership is comprised of more than 100 individuals who are either surgeons representing the ACoS or representatives from the 39 national, professional organizations affiliated with the CoC.

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 600-bed academic medical center and the principal hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J.

RWJUH is an innovative leader in advancing state-of-the-art care. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care, from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation; cancer care; and women’s and children’s care, including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital (

The hospital is a Level I Trauma Center and serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness.

RWJUH has earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety. It ranks among “America’s Best Hospitals,” according to U.S.News & World Report’s 2012 survey; it is the sixth consecutive year that RWJUH has achieved this prestigious ranking. Also in 2012, U.S.News & World Report ranked BMSCH among the nation’s “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH among the nation's best comprehensive cancer centers. The Leapfrog Group rated RWJUH among the 50 exceptional U.S. hospitals, as published in Consumers Digest, and has given the hospital an “A” grade for safety and quality. Harvard University researchers, in a study commissioned by The Commonwealth Fund, identified RWJUH as one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation for clinical quality. RWJUH is a four-time recipient of the prestigious Magnet Award for Nursing Excellence

Attention members of the media: For more information on this release, please contact the Department of Public Relations (732) 937-8521.


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