Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in stereotactic breast biopsy from the American College of Radiology (ACR).

The accreditation means that Texas Health Stephenville voluntarily underwent a vigorous review process to ensure that it meets nationally accepted standards of care, according to the ACR. The national organization says that accreditation signifies that hospital staff members and medical staff physicians are well qualified to perform medical imaging, interpret images and perform localized breast biosies. It further means that the hospital’s equipment is appropriate for tests and treatments it administers, and that the facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines.

“Accreditation brings a level of assurance of excellence of care to the residents of Erath County and surrounding communities,” said Nanette Evans, M.D., radiologist on the medical staff of Texas Health Stephenville. “A highly respected outside organization has attested to the quality of care available locally for women, as well as the hospital’s commitment to establishing and maintaining a program of excellence.”  

To help detect breast cancer, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and the ACR recommend women age 40 and older have annual mammograms. Women with dense breasts or under 50 years old are specifically encouraged to get a digital mammogram.

“Getting a yearly mammogram is an essential appointment for women who fit the criteria,” said Evans. “Mammograms help physicians catch breast cancer in the earliest, and most treatable, stages.”

If an area in the breast is suspected to be cancerous, a breast biopsy is performed to remove cells — either surgically or through a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle.  These cells are examined under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. In stereotactic breast biopsy, a special mammography machine helps guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of an abnormal growth.

“We can help women determine the need for treatment of breast cancer, without having to travel,” said Suzanne Atwood Perez, director of radiology at Texas Health Stephenville. “Because patients can stay local, my staff has an opportunity to take care of our community in a family-oriented atmosphere. That has been very important to all of us.”

The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement.