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ECMC recognized with Blue Distinction Centers+ designation for quality, cost-efficiency in bariatric surgery


Wed, Jan 6th 2021 02:15 pm

Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corp. is proud to be recognized by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York with a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show a commitment to delivering high-quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program provides a full range of bariatric surgery care; including surgical care, postoperative care, outpatient follow-up care, and patient education.

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., with more than 252,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2018 based on a report from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly 42.7% of U.S. adults and 18.5% of youth are obese and are impacted by obesity-related health conditions.

A press release stated, “With obesity reaching epidemic levels among U.S. adults, a significant opportunity exists to improve quality care for bariatric surgeries within the national health care system.

“The ECMC/synergy bariatrics team is appreciative of this recognition by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center quality selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.”

ECMCC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., Ph.D., said, “ECMC is pleased to be designated as a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. ECMC has become a leader in bariatric surgery, and we appreciate this recognition of the excellent care provided to our patients by our physicians, nurses and entire bariatric care team.”

The annual health care spend on obesity and obesity-related conditions is expected to rise by 2030, if the rate of obesity in the U.S. continues to climb.

The press release noted, “Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severely obese patients, because it allows for substantial, sustained weight loss, which leads to, improves or resolves obesity-related comorbidities like type 2 diabetes. On average, health care costs were reduced by 29% within five years following bariatric surgery, due to the reduction or elimination of obesity-related conditions, based on findings by ASMBS.”

To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, a health care 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. All designated facilities must also be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels, as well as demonstrated cost-efficiency compared to its peers. Facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20% more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other facilities.

The press release said, “Quality is key: Only those health care facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

“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, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other health care facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.”

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of designated facilities, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

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