WAREHAM, Mass. — Southcoast Health announced today that Tobey Hospital has been recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts 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.
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, as well as demonstrated cost-efficiency compared to its peers.
“Tobey Hospital is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center+ quality and cost selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program,” said Dr. Rayford Kruger, Physician-in-Chief of Surgery at Southcoast Health and the Medical Director of the Southcoast Center for Weight Loss. ““Tobey Hospital has completed over 6500 weight Loss procedures since 2004 and has become the leader in Bariatric Surgical care in the Southcoast region”
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+.
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.
Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides significant opportunity to improve quality within the healthcare 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. Furthermore, it is estimated that nearly 36.5 percent of U.S. 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 U.S., 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 program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Index. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog.
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.
Southcoast Health is a community-based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island. Southcoast Health is comprised of four hospitals — Charlton Memorial in Fall River, St. Luke’s in New Bedford, Tobey in Wareham and Southcoast Behavioral Health in Dartmouth — two Centers for Cancer Care, four Urgent Care Centers, a physician’s network, an employed physicians group, a visiting nurse association and numerous additional ambulatory facilities and serves more than 719,000 residents in 33 communities covering over 900 square miles. Southcoast Health is a not-for profit, charitable organization and the largest provider of primary and specialty care in the region with more than 600 physicians, hospitalists and mid-level practitioners in the Southcoast Physicians Network — 450 of whom are employed by Southcoast Physicians Group. With more than 7,500 employees, Southcoast Health is the largest employer in Southeastern Mass., and the 18th largest employer in the Commonwealth according to the Boston Business Journal. More information is available online at www.southcoast.org. Connect to Southcoast Health through social media on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Southcoast® is a registered trademark of Southcoast Health System.