STAR Program® FAQ

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What is STAR Program Certification? 

STAR Program Certification is ORP’s flagship product and the gold-standard in cancer rehab for hospitals and cancer centers that offer multidisciplinary survivorship care. The STAR Program includes a packaged set of training and protocols that allow healthcare facilities to establish or expand their cancer rehab services quickly and effectively, using evidence-based medicine. STAR Program facilities that are undergoing certification receive on-line educational training, expert-directed webinars, on-site self-directed in-service instructions, implementation support, marketing materials and continuing education for as long as they remain STAR Program Certified.

STAR Program certified hospitals and cancer centers address the unique health and quality-of-life issues of cancer survivors who are undergoing treatment or living with its aftermath. In addition, individual participants are eligible for STAR Clinician or STAR Provider Certification.

How long will it take us to implement the STAR Program?

Implementation of the STAR Program takes 8-12 weeks, depending on a number of factors including the existing resources at your hospital or cancer center. 

How much time do staff members have to devote to the training?

Most of the training is self-directed and computer-based so staff can do the training at home or during breaks in their clinical schedule at work. Each self-directed module will take about 2 hours to complete (approximately 20 hours total). Clinicians are usually eligible for CEU credits for this training. In addition to the on-line training, it is important to schedule in-services to bring then team together. During the initial training, in-services are scheduled every 2-3 weeks. Thereafter, in-services are scheduled monthly.

What are the benefits of STAR Program Certification?

STAR Program Certification benefits include:

  • Increase patient referrals
  • Advance survivorship care
  • Systematically train dedicated clinicians to become oncology rehab experts
  • Utilize existing interdisciplinary resources
  • Create reimbursable oncology rehab program
  • Implement evidence-based therapy protocols
  • Track outcomes and expand survivorship research
  • Obtain Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for clinicians

What is the difference between the individual and the institutional certifications?

Institutional STAR certifications are based on training a multidisciplinary team committed to survivorship issues, and in particular oncology rehabilitation. Following the training, STARCertified institutions implement specific therapy-based protocols that allow the systematic delivery of cancer rehab services and provide them with the ability to track outcomes and participate in clinical research. STAR Certified institutions attract many referrals, because they have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in survivorship care.

Individual STAR certifications are based on completing a comprehensive training course in cancer rehab and meeting continuing education requirements.

Are the protocols in the STAR Program Certification covered by medical insurance?

Yes, the services recommended are usually covered by 3rd party payors, including Medicare. Oncology rehabilitation fits into established E&M and CPT codes.  One of the optional STAR Expert-Directed Modules offered includes an overview of coding and billing for these services.

Who should be referred to the STAR Program?

Anyone who is undergoing cancer treatment has recently completed cancer treatment, or who is living with unresolved problems from cancer treatment such as musculoskeletal pain, decreased endurance and strength, balance problems, fatigue, etc.

Do we need to hire new staff members to implement the STAR Program?

No, through the STAR Program, Oncology Rehab Partners works with hospitals and cancer centers to utilize existing resources including physical, occupational and speech therapy services. However, some of our clients do decide that they want to add additional rehab services, because they enhance their oncology services and it is financially beneficial to do so.  Nonetheless, we’ve designed the STAR Program to work with the existing resources at your cancer center or hospital.

Who should be part of the multidisciplinary STAR Program team?

Since the STAR Program is an oncology rehab program, it is essential to include available clinical rehabilitation professionals including physiatrists, PTs/PTAs, OTs/COTAs and SLPs/SLPAs..  These are the core team members, but the team may also include many other health professionals. 

Who should be trained in the STAR Program?

One important question to address at each facility is, “Who should be trained?” The answer to this question is based on several factors. We encourage training all of the participating rehab staff in addition to interested members of the oncology staff, integrative medicine team, and administration. In our experience, it is ideal to invite as many staff members to participate as possible. This adds a lot of depth to your institutional cancer rehab program and encourages people to work together and refer to each other.

Will the staff be eligible for STAR individual certifications?

Yes. The staff members who complete the training will receive either the STAR Clinician or STAR Provider Certification. These certifications are valid anywhere they work (even if they change jobs and move to a facility that does not have an institutional STAR certification, the individual still keeps his/her certification).

We encourage all individuals who work with cancer survivors to become either STAR Clinician or STAR Provider Certified.  The guidelines for these two certification designations follow:

STAR Clinician Certification

Clinicians eligible for certification include those who have a conventional medical/allied health degree (minimum requirement is a 4 year college degree in a healthcare profession), active licensure in their respective fields, their services are usually reimbursed by third party payors, and they are typically part of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team. These include:

  • Physicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurses/Nurse Practitioners
  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech & Language Pathologists
  • Nutritionists/Dieticians
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists

STAR Provider Certification

Providers who are eligible for certification include those who have a healthcare background/training. STAR Providers may include (this is not meant to be a complete list):

  • PT Assistants (PTA)
  • Certified OT Assistants (COTA)
  • Speech Language Pathology Assistants (SPLA)
  • Hospital/Practice Administrators
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Case Managers/Care Coordinators
  • Patient Navigators
  • Chiropractors
  • Massage Therapists
  • Exercise Trainers/Physiologists
  • Reiki Practitioners
  • CAM/Integrative Medicine Practitioners
  • Orthotists/Prosthetists
  • Vocational Counselors
  • Certified Wellness Coaches

How much time do staff members have to devote to the training?

Most of the training is self-directed and computer-based so staff can do the training at home or during breaks in their clinical schedule at work.  Each self-directed module will take about 2 hours to complete (approximately 20 hours total).  Clinicians are eligible to submit for CEU credits for this training.  In addition to the on-line training, it is important to schedule in-services to bring the team together. During the initial training, in-services are scheduled every 2-3 weeks. Thereafter, in-services are scheduled monthly.

What is the process to become STAR Program Certified?

Your hospital or cancer center can become STAR Program Certified by contacting Oncology Rehab Partners at info@OncRehab.com.  To make the STAR Program quick and easy to implement, we have created a three phase process for certification.

Phase 1—Training

Phase 1 is the training component and includes:

1. Completion of (10) STAR Self-Directed Modules (online)

2. Completion of (4) STAR In-services (onsite)

2. Participation on (2) Web-Based Expert-Directed Modules (webinars)

We recommend having someone at your site coordinate this training process. 

Many institutions want more training and optional additional training is available via online modules, expert-directed webinars and expert-directed seminars/workshops on-site.

Phase 2—Implementation

Phase 2 begins once the team completes the training. The evaluation and treatment protocols may be modified to meet your institution’s needs. We do not require that the evaluation treatment protocols are precisely followed. However, all STAR institutions approach oncology rehabilitation in a systematic, evidence-based and functional manner and the STAR evaluation and treatment protocols make this a seamless process.

Phase 3—Continuing Education

Phase 3 begins during the year following the initial STAR Certification (year 2). We provide (6) STAR Self-Directed Modules (on-line) annually for continuing education and (6) in-service group discussion documents. We recommend that in-services are held monthly and every other month these are didactic sessions with the STAR In-service content. Alternate months should be patient case presentations by various team members.

Recertification occurs every 3 years and includes confirmation that the institution has completed the continuing education minimum requirement of (3) on-line modules and (3) in-services. Additionally, institutions are required to provide documentation that they are continuing to evaluate and treat patients in a systematic and evidence-based manner utilizing appropriate protocols that may be adapted for their institutional requirements.

How do I get our patients to use the STAR Program?

We understand how important internal marketing (to your hospital community and referral sources) and external marketing (to your local community) is to the success of your STAR Program.  To aid you in “getting the word out”, we have created a STAR Program Press Kit and include a marketing module in our web-based STAR Expert-Directed training or the on-site STAR Expert-Directed training.  Additionally, the personalized STAR Survivor Guidebook is a great way to let people know you have a state-of-the-art cancer survivorship program implemented.

Is the STAR Program Certification part of complementary medicine?

The STAR Program includes conventional evidence-based medical protocols that should be part of every cancer program (as it is for cardiac and orthopedic rehab).  The STAR Program includes protocols for a multidisciplinary approach that includes physical and occupational therapy evaluation and treatment plans.  The STAR Program training modules include integrative medicine content, where it is appropriate.

What is the STAR Survivor Guidebook?

The STAR Survivor Guidebook is designed for cancer survivors and helps to reinforce what they are doing with their STAR Clinicians.  This guidebook was written and developed by the award-winning writer and co-founder of Oncology Rehab Partners, Julie Silver, MD.  The book is offered to survivors exclusively from certified STAR Clinicians and STAR Programs. Used in conjunction with rehabilitation clinical services, this book provides survivors with the ability to track their goals while also giving them additional information on healing and optimal function following acute cancer treatment. The STAR Survivor Guidebook provides great marketing "buzz" for STAR Programs and encourages cancer survivors to become engaged in and committed to their care.

How does the STAR Program help address the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (CoC) requirements for accreditation?


Rehabilitation is one of the basic services that must be provided by every CoC-accredited cancer program.  The services may be provided on site, by referral, or coordinated with other facilities or local agencies.  The STAR Program provides the evidence-based clinical training needed to utilize existing multidisciplinary reimbursable rehabilitation services to patients (e.g., physiatry and physical / occupational / speech therapy).

Implementation of the STAR Program can help institutions meet or exceed the rehabilitation part of the accreditation standards set by the CoC. 

In addition to the rehabilitation component, the STAR Program addresses three out of the remaining five core services that the CoC requires for accreditation.  Therefore, in total, the STAR Program addresses, in whole or in part, these four core components for CoC accreditation:

1.      Cancer rehabilitation

2.      Support (e.g., counseling, pastoral care)

3.      Prevention and early detection

4.      Other clinical (e.g., clinical research, patient guidelines)

Please refer to the CoC’s website, http://www.facs.org/cancer/coc/whatis.html for more information about accreditation requirements.


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