February 12, 2018
UTICA, NY – Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has recognized the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) 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.
Each year, more than 450 bariatric surgeries are performed annually at the St. Luke’s Campus of MVHS. William Graber, MD, FACS, a bariatric surgeon, is the medical director for the program and is supported by Angela Soja, MS, RN, FNP-C, CBN, RNFA, the bariatric clinical coordinator.“We have a very successful bariatric program at MVHS and this distinction is a direct reflection of our expertise, teamwork and commitment to our patients,” noted Graber.
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+.
“This distinction is a product of collaboration between specialty trained bariatric surgeons and MVHS,” said Angela Soja, MS, RN, FNP-C, CBN, RNFA, the bariatric clinical coordinator.
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 rates 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 having demonstrated cost efficiency compared to its peers.
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.
MVHS is pleased to be recognized by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center+ quality and cost-selection criteria for Bariatric Surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the US, which provides significant opportunity to improve quality within the health care 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. It is estimated that nearly 36.5 percent of US 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 US, 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 MVHS Bariatric program, visit mvhealthsystem.org/bariatric.
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to about 1.5 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Each provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on www.bcbs.com. Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.