Southcoast Health’s Tobey Hospital recognized for higher quality in bariatric surgery
WAREHAM, Mass. — Southcoast Health announced today that Tobey Hospital has been recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts with a Blue Distinction Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community.
To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, a healthcare facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety measures as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complication and readmission rate for laparoscopic procedures in sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and adjustable gastric band. A healthcare facility must also be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels, as well as demonstrated cost-efficiency compared to its peers.
“Tobey Hospital is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center+ quality and cost selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program,” said Dr. Rayford Kruger, Physician-in-Chief of Surgery at Southcoast Health and the Medical Director of the Southcoast Center for Weight Loss. ““Tobey Hospital has completed over 6500 weight Loss procedures since 2004 and has become the leader in Bariatric Surgical care in the Southcoast region”
Quality is key: only those healthcare facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.
In 2017, the Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program expanded to include not only the type of service provided, but also the site of care. Healthcare facilities were evaluated as either a comprehensive center or as an ambulatory surgery center.
Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides significant opportunity to improve quality within the healthcare system. There were 196,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2015, according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), and the average cost is more than $28,000 per episode, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Furthermore, it is estimated that nearly 36.5 percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of youth are obese and impacted by obesity-related health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The estimated annual healthcare costs of obesity-related conditions are nearly $210 billion per year in the U.S., according to the Journal of Health Economics. On average, healthcare costs were reduced by 29 percent within five years following bariatric surgery, due to the reduction or elimination of obesity-related conditions, according to ASMBS.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 550 healthcare facilities as Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery. Healthcare facilities recognized with this designation are assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.
Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, maternity care, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants, while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other healthcare facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated facilities.
For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.