UNC bariatric surgery program receives two important distinctions

The program has been accredited as a Level 1b facility by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). In addition, the program was named a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Media contact: Tom Hughes, 919-966-6047, tahughes@unch.unc.edu

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

CHAPEL HILL – The bariatric surgery center at UNC Hospitals has received two important distinctions.

The program has been accredited as a Level 1b facility by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This designation means that UNC Hospitals has met the essential criteria that ensure it is fully capable of supporting a bariatric surgery care program and that its institutional performance meets the requirements outlined by the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program.

In addition, the program was named a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. To be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery, UNC Hospitals 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

 

“These new designations for our established bariatric surgery program are important in the current environment because they demonstrate the UNC Health Care System’s continuing commitment to top level bariatric care for the people of North Carolina within the doors of the flagship institution,” said Tim Farrell, MD, who co-directs the program with D. Wayne Overby, MD.  “Having patients here in the clinical and academic environment of UNC Hospitals helps them receive the best multidisciplinary care, but also exposes our trainees and researchers to the human face of the obesity epidemic. These personal connections will help patients today, but will also pay future dividends in better trained health care providers and research innovations.”

Overby said, “UNC has a long history of providing weight loss surgery patients with excellent care. Patients and their providers can be even more confident choosing our program knowing we have been objectively reviewed and recognized by both the American College of Surgeons and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.”

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 2005 in an effort to extend established quality improvement practices to all disciplines of surgical care, the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program provides confirmation that a bariatric surgery center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality care for its bariatric surgery patients. Accredited bariatric surgery centers provide not only the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients, but also the support and resources that are necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, from the prehospital phase through the postoperative care and treatment process.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recognized UNC Hospitals and allows expanded Medicare coverage of bariatric surgery for beneficiaries of all ages who have been diagnosed with other health problems associated with obesity.  Medicare coverage has been limited to procedures performed in Level 1 facilities certified by the American College of Surgeons or the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

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.

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