Memorial Health Bariatrics Cited for Excellence

(June 9, 2008) – Memorial Health Bariatrics, the gastric bypass surgery program at Memorial University Medical Center, has been selected as a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) Blue Distinction Center for bariatric surgery. Blue Distinction is the BCBSA’s nationwide program for specialty care that identifies quality providers around the country.

Clinical data from hospital registries, each facility’s structure processes, and care outcomes are used to select each Blue Distinction Center. Criteria include nationally endorsed quality measures developed in collaboration with medical experts and professional organizations.

“This distinction is especially important to us because it is based on actual patient outcomes and quality indicators. This is further proof that for world-class bariatric surgery, Memorial is the place to go,” said John D. Angstadt, bariatric surgeon and medical director of Memorial Health Bariatrics.

To become a Blue Distinction Center for bariatric surgery, a facility must offer proof of:

• An acute care inpatient facility, including intensive care and emergency room services

• An established bariatric program actively performing these procedures for the most recent 12-month period and performing a required minimum volume of 125 such surgeries annually

• Sustained excess weight loss of greater than 50 percent at two years post-surgery for at least 90 percent of patients

• Adequate experience and credentialing of the bariatric surgery team

• Documented patient care and follow-up care procedures from admission through discharge, including long-term follow up after surgery

•Full accreditation by The Joint Commission

•A comprehensive quality management program that specifically incorporates bariatric surgery.

“Blue Distinction promotes the consistent practice of evidence-based medicine,” said Monye Connolly, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia. “The Blues are committed to working collaboratively with physicians and hospitals to raise the quality of healthcare in our nation. The Blue Distinction designation identifies institutions that lead the way in delivering quality outcomes.”

The BCBSA is comprised of 39 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 99 million – nearly one-in-three – Americans.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed tertiary medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. Memorial University Medical Center has been named a Distinguished Hospital by J.D. Power and Associates four years in a row for providing an outstanding patient experience.