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Published on April 26, 2012

Crozer-Keystone’s Bariatric Surgery Program Earns Honors

In Brief

  • The Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Program at Crozer-Chester Medical Center was named a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® (BSCOE) by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
  • Because Medicare requires that patients receiving bariatric surgery must have the procedure at a Center of Excellence, Crozer’s center will now be eligible to receive many Medicare patients, making bariatric surgery more accessible to the community.
  • Crozer also demonstrated the best year-over-year performance in bariatric surgery based on Potentially Avoidable Complications (PAC) analysis conducted by Blue Health Intelligence.

In recognition of the safety and quality of its patient care, the Comprehensive Bariatric Surgery Program at Crozer-Chester Medical Center recently earned honors from two organizations.

ASMBS Center of Excellence®

The program was named a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® (BSCOE) by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® (BSCOE) program was created to recognize bariatric surgery centers that perform well and to help surgeons and hospitals continue to improve the quality and safety of care provided.

To earn the designation, Crozer’s program underwent a rigorous process during which all aspects of the program’s surgical processes were closely examined and data on health outcomes was collected. The path to this achievement was a long-term one, says Leon Katz, M.D., medical director of the program.

 “We had to set multiple processes in place at the hospital and in the office. These included protocols for getting patients ready for the surgery and continual education for the staff,” Katz says.

The designation puts the Center among the top tier of bariatric centers in the country, and for Crozer, it’s an important affirmation of the health system’s efforts to develop the program. Because Medicare requires that patients receiving bariatric surgery must have the procedure at a Center of Excellence, Crozer’s center will now be eligible to receive many Medicare patients, making bariatric surgery more accessible to the community.

The rigorous BSCOE application process looks at three different areas: The surgeon, the practice (program) and the facility. The surgeon must demonstrate significant expertise in bariatric surgery. Site inspectors review volumes and outcomes, surgical techniques utilized and the surgeon's commitment to stay abreast of the most current and appropriate surgical treatments. The inspectors also complete a very thorough site inspection to verify a commitment to excellence and safety. They evaluate that every provision has been made to assure a bariatric-appropriate environment exists. This includes a walk-through of all “touch-points” that a typical pre- and post-op bariatric patient will encounter.

Inspectors also interview the hospital’s staff and leaders and perform a detailed review of inpatient/outpatient medical charts of a random selection of patients. Multidisciplinary care is integral to the treatment of a bariatric patient and is required for BSCOE designation. The program must demonstrate a comprehensive treatment plan throughout each point of care in the continuum. In addition, BSCOE hospitals must also devote the time and resources needed to ensure ongoing bariatric education for staff members.

“It truly demonstrates that we have the full commitment from the administration to the nursing staff to my office to making this a top-notch bariatric program,” Katz says. “I’m very pleased because I have worked very hard to deliver the best and safest care and it’s very useful to have an independent, outside governing agency or body to declare us a Center of Excellence—not just a center of ‘pretty good.’” 

“Top-Performing Bariatric Program,” Blue Health Intelligence

In addition, Crozer’s program was recognized as a top-performing bariatric program for having one of the lowest rates of preventable avoidable complications (PACs) in the country.

Crozer demonstrated the best year-over-year performance in bariatric surgery based on Potentially Avoidable Complications (PAC) analysis conducted by Blue Health Intelligence, the nation's premier health intelligence resource and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

To determine the best-performing facilities in bariatric surgery based on PAC analysis, 214 facilities were considered. During the three-year period that BHI looked at, Crozer experienced lower than average complications and exhibited quality safety results, a low readmission rate and a competitive average cost of care. Crozer’s potentially avoidable complication rate was just .04 percent compared to a nationwide average of 6.7 percent.

According to BHI, executives and clinical staff at Crozer identified various key factors in the program’s success. For instance, the program design includes monthly safety committee meetings and clinical practice guidelines to drive increased quality. Ongoing patient support and interaction is another key factor to Crozer’s demonstrated success. Distribution of e-newsletters, patient satisfaction surveys, and mentoring teams also helped to keep patients knowledgeable.

Crozer also has been recognized by Independence Blue Cross as a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery. Blue Distinction is a national designation program, developed in collaboration with the medical community to recognize those facilities that demonstrate expertise in delivering quality specialty care – safely, efficiently, and cost effectively. 

“With access to a wealth of data and with professional relationships across the healthcare community, Independence Blue Cross is uniquely positioned to identify and promote best practices in clinical care,” says Richard Snyder, chief medical officer at Independence Blue Cross. “We are pleased to contribute to BHI by providing regional data and claims information needed for BHI’s analysis and comparison of leading bariatric programs across the country which can aid members when making decisions about their care. We have long supported physicians and hospitals in practicing evidence-based medicine and it is rewarding to see that Crozer-Chester Medical Center has emerged as having a very high quality bariatric surgery program.”

“BHI’s analysis of Crozer-Chester Medical Center is an example of how BHI’s analytics can help transform the healthcare system by delivering data-driven information about health care trends and best practices resulting in healthier lives and affordable access to safe and effective care,” said Swati Abbott, BHI CEO.  “BHI congratulates Crozer for its continued efforts in delivering safe, quality care to its patients.”

Katz looks forward to continuing to build on the program’s success. “We are very proud of all that we’ve accomplished and we are glad that we can provide a valuable service to people in our area,” he says.

For more information about Bariatric Surgery at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, visit http://bariatricsurgery.crozerkeystone.org or call (610) 619-8450.

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