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June 2014

    Vol 3 Issue 2

From the Editor 


There is always a surge in activity for regional registries in late spring. NCRW, the NCRA annual meeting, and annual data changes, along with operational activities take priority. Before we know it, summer is on the horizon. The CRGC experienced an unusually hectic late spring. Regions 2 and Region 6 were brought under the CRGC Sacramento central office operations at the end of May. Additionally, Kyle Ziegler, CTR, accepted the new position of Director Data Management and Informatics. The  articles, Transitions, by Marta Induni, PhD., and New CRGC Central Staff, describe the process and reasoning of the Region 2 and Region 6 reorganization along with the personnel changes that will support the work effort.

Also in this issue, Elena Martinez PhD., Epidemiologist for the Cancer Registry of San Diego and Imperial Counties and the Orange County Cancer Registry, writes about the barriers, screening, diagnosis, and treatment in the underserved population in colorectal cancer.

This year's North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) annual conference is in Ottawa, Canada, June 21-26 and is combined with the International Association of Cancer Registries (IACR) annual conference. John Morgan Dr.PH, Rosemary Cress Dr.PH, Glen Halvorson, Winny Roshala, and myself will be making presentations based on cancer data provided by the CRGC cancer registrars and innovative practices developed by CRGC staff. We would like to thank the registrars for providing CRGC with quality data to enable these presentations.


Have the best of summers!



Challenges and Solutions to Colorectal Cancer Disparities in the U.S.

Elena Martinez, Ph.D. Epidemiologist, Cancer Registry of San Diego and the Orange County Cancer Registry 


Colorectal cancer (CRC) disparities in the U.S. are evident throughout the cancer care continuum. Although CRC incidence and mortality rates continue to decline, the latest U.S. data show that overall, black men continue to have the highest rates. Furthermore, there are clear stage-specific survival differences across racial/ethnic groups. Perhaps less studied is the unequal burden of CRC by socioeconomic status. Published reports clearly show that even within racial/ethnic group, individuals with lower education have higher death rates than those with higher education. It has been also shown that uninsured patients have both a higher probability of being diagnosed with late stage disease and lower survival than insured individuals.   


To continue this article click here.        



In early May, the Commission on Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons, announced the recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA). Established in 2004, the CoC OAA recognizes cancer programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. The award is granted to facilities that demonstrate a Commendation level of compliance with seven standards that represent four areas of program management, clinical services, patient outcomes, and data quality. The level of compliance with the seven standards is determined during an onsite evaluation by a physician surveyor. In addition, facilities must receive a compliance rating for each of the remaining 27 cancer program standard. Of the 74 OAA recipients, Naval Medical Center San Diegoachieved this level of distinction for four accreditation cycles (2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013).  Of note  is that the Veterans Affairs Cancer Programs and NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center Programs were in-eligible to receive the OAA during 2013.



Marta Induni, PhD, Senior Director of Operations


As many of you already know, staff for Regions 2 and 6 has been brought into PHI and started in early June. The California Health Collaborative (who previously held a contract to manage and collect data for Regions 2 and 6) has been a valued partner for many years. The intent of this change in structure is to better control the workflow processes across all of CRGC's regions. As we move forward, we expect to better standardize procedures and develop best practices for the incredible amount of work the CRGC staff tends to. As we move ahead, we expect to increase cross-training, job knowledge, and project management responsibilities for all staff members. We will miss our positive working relationship with CHC; Mignon Dryden and Stephen Ramirez have been so incredibly helpful and always had the staff's welfare in mind. We hope to collaborate with CHC in the future.


We have hired six full time staff from CHC in this recent transition: Nancy Dorrough, Marge Terry-Carlos, Valerie McRae, Diane Overlock, Melissa Lewis, and Holly Hansen. Under Kyle Ziegler's leadership, we are certain that CRGC will grow even stronger, more efficient, and achieve all of our performance and quality targets. Many thanks to all for a smooth and amicable transition.


New CRGC Central Staff 

Kyle Ziegler - Director of Data Management and Informatics


Kyle will be overseeing the Data Management and Informatics Unit (formerly known as the Data Collection Unit). Kyle will be a familiar face to many of us at CRGC, having worked with the California Cancer Registry since 2003. Kyle is a seasoned CTR and has had experience managing hospital registries, auditing for NAACCR and Macro International. His main responsibilities with CRGC will be to oversee the planning, development, and implementation of the daily operational activities of the program. Critical to the daily activities of the position are monitoring and meeting workflow and client demands, meeting contract deliverables, and overseeing processes such as; manual and electronic pathology case-finding, physician and hospital contact for the purpose of collecting additional case information, case abstraction, processing of death files from the Department of Vital Records, visual and computer edit review, linkage and consolidation from all reporting sources. This position will supervise all Data Management and Informatics Unit Quality Control Specialists and Data Collection Specialists staff and oversee the timeliness and compliance of data collection and production for five CRGC regions. Kyle will be taking the lead in the development and implementation of best practices of work activities, efficiencies in workflow, reduction of redundancies, and process improvement measures.  

 Linda Baughman - Quality Control Specialist I


Linda joined us a few weeks ago and hit the ground running. She comes to us from Region 6 and brings a wealth of experience and commitment to high quality work. Linda has many years of experience in all things CTR: visual editing, abstracting, linkage and consolidation, SEER edits, and so much more. Linda's first few weeks have been spent on abstracting for the PROMIS study.

Melissa Lewis - Quality Control Specialist I


Melissa is coming to us from the Region 2, where she served as lead abstractor for five regional hospitals while also performing several other regional registry functions such as, visual editing, death clearance, and various casefinding activities. Melissa received her CTR in 2004 and has been expanding her horizons ever since. We are pleased that she is able to join our the Data Management and Informatics Unit and look forward to her contributions.

Valerie McRae - Quality Control Specialist I



Valerie has a long history in the cancer registry field. Obtaining her CTR in 1997, she served as Cancer Program Manager for Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California almost 14 years. After about 20 years of service with Mercy, Valerie worked for a pathology lab in Redding developing and coordinating I.T. process improvements and assisted in marketing the laboratory services throughout Northern California where she helped the lab grow to 418 physician offices in five counties. Valerie joined Region 6 in January 2013 as a Quality Control Specialist II. Valerie has vast and impressive experience and we are glad to have her as part of the CRGC team.

Diane Overlock - Quality Control Specialist I  


Many of you will recognize Diane's name since she has worked as a Quality Control Specialist II in Region 6 for nearly 25 years.  Diane has experience in all aspects of the registry and has been an asset to the California Health Collaborative, and now she is ours. We are excited to have her experience with us.  

Stephanie Phipps - Quality Control Specialist I


Stephanie also joined us a few weeks ago and has been off to a flying start. She also hails from Region 6 and has been steadfastly abstracting since she arrived. Another expert CTR, she has over eight years of experience with casefinding, abstracting, ePath, and external relationships. She has already been a positive and valuable member of the team.


Gretchen Agha - Data Collection Specialist


Many of you will recognize Gretchen's name from her 20 years of experience with the CCR and CRGC. Having served as a Development Specialist and Program Administrator, Gretchen brings with her great institutional knowledge. Her strong background in database management, budgets, and research activities, only adds to the strong team we have assembled. Gretchen will be working closely with the Data Management and Informatics team in gathering information and working with facilities to make our registry data even more complete.

Holly Hansen - Data Collection Specialist  


Holly has over nine years' experience in a central registry and thrives in a fast paced and challenging environments. Holly hails from Region 6 where she was involved with all aspects of the central registry, including but not limited to visual editing, abstracting MDO's, DCO's, casefinding and the SEER POC study.  Holly has an extreme knowledge of the Eureka system and came on board with many lab contracts that will prove extremely valuable to CRGC. We are very excited to have her onboard with us!

Marge Carlos - Data Collection Specialist
Marge was with the California Health Collaborative in Region 2 for 13 years.  Marge began working in the Case Coordination and Navigation Program and was responsible for documenting and assisting in the review process and plan of care for patients with breast and cervical cancer. She also assisted patients with enrolling in outreach programs and support groups. In 2007, Marge moved into her role as Senior Data Collection Specialist for the Region 2 Cancer Registry.She was responsible for all aspects of the casefinding process for Region 2. Marge's experience will benefit the CRGC greatly and we are all glad that she has joined our team.

Nancy Dorrough - Data Collection Specialist


Nancy has 24 years of experience in the cancer registry field.  With both a hospital and regional registry background, Nancy brings an array of experience with her to the CRGC.  Nancy was a Quality Control Specialist for Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno for 11 years and has been with the California Health Collaborative in Region 2 for 13 years.  Now she begins her journey with the CRGC as a Data Collection Specialist.  We are pleased to have her join our team!

Please join us in welcoming our newest members of the CRGC team!  
Desert Sierra Cancer Surveillance Program-Region 5 Update
Becky Cassady, RHIA, CTR, Regional Director, DSCSP

The DSCSP welcomed Romarico Mendiola, CTR in May as our new Data Collection Specialist.  Romarico (Rico) has been working in the cancer registry field for two years as a hospital registrar and then with an abstracting agency.  He has eagerly been learning the regional registry processes for data collection and is helping Leimomi process the workflow for our contracted facilities, radiation oncology centers, physicians and pathology reporting cases.  We are happy to have Rico as a member of our team in Region 5!

Single Abstract Reporting by Network Reporting Facilities

Winny Roshala, BA, CTR, Director, CRGC Data Quality Control


Just a reminder that if your reporting facility belongs to a health system network in which several reporting facilities share a single, unified patient medical record, wherein each facility in the network has equal access to all components  of the medical record, your facility may qualify to report your cases as a single abstract for each tumor. Once a request for Network Reporting status has been submitted to the California Cancer Registry (CCR) and approval is granted and received from the CCR and CRGC region, single abstracts can be submitted for each tumor seen within in the network. The advantages of single abstract reporting includes reduced work efforts for the hospital registrar as well as the regional registry staff, since these cases do not need to be consolidated and will be visually edited once.


For more information regarding the Single Abstract Reporting by Network Reporting Facilities, click on the following link to the CCR web site:


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