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The SCCA is committed to continually improving the quality and safety of the healthcare services it provides. All members of the SCCA workplace environment commit to the following shared quality vision and values:

Quality Vision

SCCA will demonstrate the highest level of care and service through use of evidence-based practices and a commitment to patient and family-centered care.

Quality Values

SCCA is committed to patient care that is founded in its quality values:

  • Patient and Family Centered: providing care that is responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values and assuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.
  • Safe: avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.
  • Effective: providing services based on scientific knowledge.
  • Timely: avoiding waits and harmful delays for both those who receive care and those who give care.
  • Efficient: avoiding waste, including waste of equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy.
  • Equitable: providing care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, geographic location or socio-economic status.
  • Value: treatment interventions and services are evaluated for both cost and benefit to determine value to patient.

Patient Safety

Patient safety is the priority at SCCA. All members of the workplace accept patient safety as a personal responsibility and engage in behaviors that foster a positive safety culture. All members are empowered to hold each other accountable for patient safety and will speak-up should it be compromised.

Principles of Our Safety Culture

The SCCA safety culture is founded on open communication and collaboration within and between work groups, across all staff levels, and is grounded in trust and mutual respect. The safety culture is supported by the following SCCA Behavioral Code of Conduct.

Behavioral Code of Conduct

The SCCA promotes collaboration across the care delivery system in carrying out its mission. We are committed to providing patient & family centered care of the highest quality. Rendering quality care in a safe environment is dependent on a workplace culture where open communication and effective collaboration occurs. We expect our workforce to engage in behaviors that foster a positive culture where all members treat each other and our patients with professionalism and respect.

I. Purpose

This Behavioral Code of Conduct is established to promote conduct that:

  • Enhances effectiveness of communication and teamwork among all members of the workforce
  • Maximizes each member's ability to practice or work safely, and
  • Affirms a positive and non-intimidating workplace.

II. Scope

This Behavioral Code of Conduct applies to all members of the SCCA workforce, including employees, medical staff, and other non-employees who work at the SCCA. This code complements other related policies and procedures at the SCCA and describes how to address issues of misconduct when they arise.

III. Leadership Expectations

SCCA leadership at all levels, including Medical Directors, Administrative Directors, Managers/Supervisors, will model the behavior expected of all workforce members at the SCCA.

IV. Expected Behavior

  • Communicating in a truthful, direct, and respectful manner and carrying it out in a timely fashion, involving the appropriate person(s), in an appropriate setting.
  • Cooperation and availability are expected of all workforce members whenever serving in a professional capacity (for example: responding promptly and appropriately when contacted by pager, phone, email, etc.)
  • Recognizing that a variety of expertise and experience levels exists at the SCCA and that tolerance for those who are learning is expected. Respecting thoughts and ideas of others.
  • Adhering to all laws, regulations, and policies applicable to the SCCA and to the individual workforce member's job duties.

V. Examples of Unacceptable Behavior

The following list is not intended to be all inclusive.

  • Engaging in threatening or violent behavior
  • Shouting, screaming or yelling
  • Using profane or disrespectful language
  • Criticizing performance and/or competency of another workforce member delivered inappropriately and/or not aimed at performance improvement
  • Arguing with patients, family members, and staff members

VI. Expected Action if Unacceptable Behavior Occurs

In situations where unacceptable behavior occurs, the SCCA expects the workforce members involved to recognize and acknowledge the behavior as unacceptable. The involved individuals are encouraged to address issues of misconduct when they arise. In situations where assistance is needed, the workforce member can work with:

  • Managers/Supervisors
  • Directors/Administrators
  • Human Resources/Employee Relations (667-5315)
  • Medical Directors of service/unit involved
  • Medical Director of SCCA

It is the responsibility of the above individuals to assist in resolving the issue directly or to appropriately refer the matter to the responsible supervisor.

Reporting Patient Care Incidents, Errors, and Near-Misses

Should a patient care error or near-miss event occur it is critical that we respond quickly and learn from them so that we may prevent their reoccurrence. Patients and families have the right to expect open communication about the results of care and treatment—including potential results caused through error.

Should a patient event occur:

  1. Provide immediate response if injury or harm was caused
  2. If harm or injury occurred notify the local area supervisor/manager and Risk Management at 206.288.1056
  3. Regardless of harm, all SCCA non-employee workforce members are required to report unsafe conditions or events to the local area supervisor/manager

Risk Management

The Risk Management program places emphasis on harm prevention for patients, visitors, and staff. If you are unsure whether an incident should be reported to Risk Management—discuss with your Department Supervisor or contact Risk Management to clarify (206.288.1056). Risk Management will then assist by coordinating an investigation and setting up communication between all parties involved. They will then organize disclosure discussions to help maintain patient and family trust, and coordinate Media Relations involvement as needed. They will also facilitate access to legal guidance, if necessary.

What should you do if you are injured?

Contact your Supervisor who will provide you with an Accident Incident Response Form to complete.

Patient Relations

Patient complaints are best resolved at the service level—staff are encouraged to involve the local area supervisor/manager.

What should I do in the case of a patient complaint?

Utilize the "H.E.A.T." tool:

  • Hear them out—Take time and carefully listen to the patient's concern.
  • Empathize—Ask open-ended questions: "Tell me what happened so I can fully understand your concern."
  • Apologize—Acknowledge the patient's inconvenience and be sincere in your apology.
  • Take responsibility—Act in a professional manner to rectify the problem as well as you can.

Patients who are dissatisfied with services or procedures at SCCA have the right to make a formal complaint to SCCA. The SCCA Patient Relations Office can be reached at 206.288.1056.

Regulatory & Accreditation Affairs—On-Site Unannounced Surveys

What are Unannounced Surveys or Visits?

The SCCA complies with many state, federal and hospital accreditation rules. The agencies that certify or accredit our operations regularly send survey teams to conduct on-site surveys of the care and services we provide at SCCA outpatient and inpatient sites of care.

Sometimes we know when they are coming; often we don't know. Visits are frequently unannounced as it shows a more accurate picture of an organization’s day-to-day performance.

Who might arrive for a visit? Some examples of agencies or groups:

  • Washington State Department of Health (DOH)
  • The Joint Commission (TJC)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP)

What is our policy?

The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is committed to excellence and accountability and will facilitate an unannounced survey or site visit.

What do I do if a surveyor or inspector shows up?

  • Most surveyors or inspectors will go to the front desk to check in—and staff then pages the SCCA Administrator on Call (AOC). If you are the first person contacted, ask the surveyor to wait for an escort, and contact your SCCA supervisor immediately. Do not provide any confidential information, written or spoken, to a "surveyor/inspector" until an administrator has confirmed their credentials.
  • Yes, it is OK to spread the word that surveyors are here!

Where can I find more information?

Call the Accreditation and Regulatory Affairs Department at 206-288-1055 for questions or advice on practicing for surveys. For written information on being prepared for a survey, print a "Staff Survey Readiness Guide", if you are a staff member, or "MD Survey Readiness Quick Guide", if you are a medical provider, from the Accreditation and Regulatory Affairs department intranet site, Continuous Readiness Tools section.

Quality and Patient Safety Quiz Questions

 a. Physicians
 b. Nurses, and others that provide direct patient care
 c. Contract/temporary staff, and other non-employee members that provide direct patient care
 d. a and b only
 e. All members of the workplace
 a. True
 b. False
 a. Provide immediate response if injury or harm was caused
 b. If harm or injury occurred notify your supervisor and Risk Management at 206.288.2236.
 c. Regardless of harm, all SCCA non-employee workforce are required to report unsafe conditions or events to their local area supervisor
 d. All of the above
 a. Help, Empathize, Acknowledge, Teamwork
 b. Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Take Responsibility
 c. Hot, Embers, Always, Tremble
 d. Hot, Embers, Always, Tingle
 a. Ask the surveyor to wait for an escort
 b. Contact any SCCA Supervisor/Manager immediately
 c. Get a cup of coffee
 d. a and b only

Check Answers


Correct answers:

  1. e. All members of the workplace
  2. a. True
  3. d. All of the above
  4. b. Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Take Responsibility
  5. d. a and b only