Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa has designated Iowa Methodist Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery. To date, more than 230 facilities nationwide have received a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery designation.
Obesity is widely recognized as a contributor to serious health risks. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the total number of bariatric surgeries increased 400 percent from 1998 to 2004. Bariatric surgery may help some individuals reduce extreme obesity and its associated health risks, and Blue Distinction provides objective information to help them make informed decisions when choosing a provider.
"We're extremely proud to receive this important recognition for our excellent weight loss surgery program," said Dr. Steve Stephenson, Chief Operating Officer at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. "Over the past five years, our surgeons and staff have helped hundreds of Iowans take control of their weight and improve their lives. This distinction recognizes our high quality, compassionate care we provide."
"This designation emphasizes our philosophy for the overall care of the bariatric patient," said Dr. Todd Eibes, Medical Director for UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Weight Loss Surgery Specialists. "Surgery is only the first step toward healthy living. Our team is committed to providing the dietary, exercise and psychiatric care that is also necessary for recovery. Obesity affects all areas of our patients' lives, and by providing effective treatment, we can relieve many associated diseases and allow them to return to a normal life."
Iowa Methodist Medical Center and the physicians and staff of UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Weight Loss Surgery Specialists provide a full range of bariatric surgery care services, including pre-surgery consultation, inpatient care, post-operative care, outpatient follow-up, support groups and patient education.
"Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is committed to working with hospitals and physicians across Iowa and South Dakota to ensure the highest quality care for our members," says Paul Karazija, M.D., Wellmark's chief medical officer. "The Blue Distinction designation in bariatric surgery is designed to help our members choose hospitals with a proven track record of meeting aggressive quality standards."
To be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery, Iowa Methodist Medical Center met the selection criteria posted at www.BCBS.com, which includes:
- An established bariatric surgery program, actively performing these procedures for the most recent 12-month period and performing a required minimum volume of 125 such surgeries annually.
- Appropriate experience of its bariatric surgery team.
- An acute care inpatient facility, including intensive care and emergency services.
- Full accreditation by The Joint Commission, Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) or national equivalent.
- A comprehensive quality management program.
Blue Distinction is a designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality healthcare. The designation is based on rigorous, evidence-based selection criteria established in collaboration with expert physicians' and medical organizations recommendations. Today, more than 800 Blue Distinction Center designations have been awarded to facilities nationwide, providing consumers with a framework for making informed decisions on where to go for specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, and transplants.
In the past year, the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) also designated Iowa Methodist Medical Center as a Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery®. For this designation, the ASMBS requires the hospital or institution to perform at least 125 bariatric surgeries per year, have a dedicated multi-disciplinary bariatric team, report long-term outcomes and submit to an on-site inspection. Over 400 hospitals and institutions are designated as ASMBS Centers of Excellence in the U.S.