Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has recognized St. Elizabeth Hospital with a Blue Distinction® Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated hospitals 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. The facility should also have 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.
“We have always maintained a focus on providing safe, quality, and effective surgical options for those qualifying for weight loss surgery,” said Holly Edmonds, bariatric surgery coordinator for St. Elizabeth Hospital. “We are pleased to have been designated a Blue Distinction+ Center for Bariatric Surgery. We hope that the designation will provide additional peace of mind to patients who choose to have weight loss surgery with us,” she said.
Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the United States. 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 adults in the United States 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 health care costs of obesity-related conditions are nearly $210 billion per year in the United States, 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.