The Swansea facility is the only ACR-accredited PET provider in southwest Illinois, and one of 10 such sites throughout the state. The center achieved accreditation after voluntarily undergoing an on-site survey and an independent review of the practice, including an evaluation of its procedures, equipment, criteria for staff and the quality of its scanned images.
PET scans are important diagnostic tools. They allow physicians to observe how organs and tissues function within the body, and to detect unusual metabolic activity potentially indicative of disease. The images may, for example, reveal early-stage and metastatic cancers.
But not all PET scans and diagnostic imaging centers are alike. To improve quality nationwide, U.S. lawmakers recently enacted legislation (H.R. 6331) that requires advanced imaging providers, which participate in Medicare, be accredited by 2012. This includes PET scan providers.
The accreditation process can take months to complete. Even then, not all providers receive the ACR seal of approval.
“The American College of Radiology awards accreditation to those medical facilities who have achieved exceptional practice standards after pursuing a rigid peer-review evaluation,” said Dr. Charles DuMontier, who along with Dr. Wallace Anderson, serves as co-medical director of the PET/CT Imaging Center in Swansea. Both men are local board-certified radiologists.
“Accreditation levels the playing field by applying a uniform standard to advanced imaging facilities,” added Dr. Anderson. “It’s also a means of further assuring our patients that the care they receive is as good here as anywhere else.”
News of the accreditation should be especially reassuring to local cancer patients who undergo their PET scans at the imaging center and then go to the Cancer Treatment Center for their radiation therapy. That’s because both centers are ACR accredited in their respective modalities. They are also located on the same campus, and are jointly owned and operated by Memorial and St. Elizabeth’s hospitals of Belleville.