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Published on April 12, 2017

Billings Clinic Stem Cell Program Awarded FACT Accreditation

Billings, MT— Billings Clinic has received internationally-recognized accreditation by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  By demonstrating compliance with the FACT-JACIE International Standards for Cellular Therapy Product Collection, Processing and Administration, Billings Clinic has earned FACT Accreditation specifically for adult, autologous stem cell transplantation. Billings Clinic Cancer Center is the only FACT accredited facility and the only facility doing autologous transplants in the region.

FACT-JACIE Standards are defined by leading experts based on the latest knowledge of the field of cellular therapy transplantation. This achievement indicates the accredited institution has met the most rigorous standards in every aspect of stem cell therapy, from clinical care to donor management, cell collection, processing, storage, transportation, cell administration and release.

Accreditation is attained through evaluation of submitted documentation and an on-site inspection to determine if an organization is in compliance with current FACT standards and the United States Food and Drug Administration’s current rules for Good Tissue Practice.  FACT conducted its on-site evaluation of Billings Clinic in late October, 2016.

“Receiving FACT accreditation of our hematopoietic stem cell program marks a major milestone,” said Dr. Brock Whittenberger, Billings Clinic medical oncologist. “It means we meet the stringent FACT requirements for cellular collection, processing, and transplantation. Accreditation happened because of the hard work and talent of our transplant program team in providing the best treatment for our patients.”

Billings Clinic’s Stem Cell Transplant Center practices autologous stem cell transplantation, which uses the patient’s own stem cells for the treatment of a variety of cancers of the blood such as multiple myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, among others. Becoming a FACT-accredited institution for this therapy means more patients will be able to receive their treatment closer to home without having to travel to a larger urban setting such as Seattle, Denver or Salt Lake City.

 “We are pleased that Billings Clinic has met the requirements of the Foundation and has been granted accreditation for stem cell transplantation,” said Dr. Phyllis Warkentin, FACT’s Chief Medical Officer.

For more information about autologous transplants, visit billingsclinic.com/cancer.

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About Billings Clinic 

Billings Clinic is Montana’s largest health system serving Montana, Wyoming and the western Dakotas. A not-for-profit organization led by a physician CEO, Billings Clinic is governed by a board of community members, nurses and physicians. At its core, Billings Clinic is a physician-led, integrated multispecialty group practice with a 304-bed hospital and Level II trauma center. Billings Clinic has more than 4,000 employees, including more than 400 physicians and advanced practitioners offering more than 50 specialties. More information can be found at www.billingsclinic.com.

About FACT

In December 1994, the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) merged their Standards into a single document covering all aspects of hematopoietic cell therapy (collection, processing, and transplantation). The two societies established FACT in order to develop a voluntary Inspection and Accreditation Program based on the joint Standards.  FACT promotes quality medical and laboratory practice of cellular therapy through its peer-developed standards and voluntary inspection and accreditation program.

In 2006, FACT, in collaboration with the Joint Accreditation Committee–ISCT & EBMT (JACIE), developed international standards in the field of cellular therapy.  JACIE was founded by the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) and the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT), the two leading scientific organizations involved with cellular transplantation in Europe. 

Since 2007, FACT accreditation has been used in determining the U.S. News & World report rankings of transplant centers for the "America's Best Hospitals" and "America's Best Children's Hospitals" list. 

The FACT Inspection and Accreditation Program was developed by Dr. Phyllis Warkentin, Chief Medical Officer of FACT, the FACT Board of Directors, as well as the ISCT and ASBMT Regulatory and Standards Committees.  The first edition of the FACT Standards was published in September 1996, and the first inspections began in September of 1997 resulting in the first program being awarded accreditation in 1998.  

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