Smooth Sailing with Surveyor Robert Flanigan of the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC)


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Robert Flanigan (pictured on the far left)  knows how to captain a ship, drop anchor, sail rough seas and float through calm and relaxing waters. Ironically, he is shown in the attached photo with an old high school friend aboard a sailboat called “Defiant” which means to resist behaving or conforming to what is expected. Wearing his surveyor cap he is hardly defiant, he is frankly more at the helm and ensuring all are on board.

As a retired general surgeon since 2008, Dr. Flanigan first began surveying Commission on Cancer Accredited Cancer Programs in 2004. Once NAPBC accreditation and standards came along, he could not help but steer his leadership skills towards the launch and navigation of the new site specific accreditation for malignant and benign breast disease in 2009.

Utilizing his adventurous spirit of surveying as a means to assure cancer patients are receiving the highest quality of care that a facility is able to provide is evident in his “all hands on deck” approach to interdisciplinary breast care ( NAPBC Standards 1.1,1.2, and 1.3). He feels that having both the CoC and the NAPBC accreditation makes sense given the high volume of benign and malignant breast disease in this country. Performing back to back surveys can be very user-friendly as it requires the surveyor to only attend the breast cancer conference for both accreditations. He finds most programs who map out the dual survey journey would like to continue with the same format.

Dr. Flanigan enjoys the opportunity to work with programs during the pre-survey prep and the actual survey voyage. Being part of the opportunity to improve the delivery of care is always an inspiration and designed to be opportunistic versus punitive. If you don’t see Dr. Flanigan on the high survey seas perhaps you might find him, biking, jogging or fishing in the Florida Keys missing his favorite part of practicing medicine, his patients. However, in his own surveyor manner he is still looking out for his patients, just in a much larger tank with a slightly bigger splash!