News Line

Temple Bariatric Program Retains Blue Distinction

Temple University Hospital (TUH) has retained its status as a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery. TUH is one of only 200 facilities nationwide to have received a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery designation.

Bariatric surgery, or weight-loss surgery, refers to the various surgical procedures that can be performed to treat obesity, which is widely recognized as a contributor to serious health risks. The surgeries involve modifications of stomach, intestines, or both. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the total number of bariatric surgeries increased 400 percent from 1998 to 2004. Bariatric surgery may help some individuals reduce extreme obesity and its associated health risks, and Blue Distinction® provides objective information to help them make informed decisions when choosing a provider.

As part of Blue Distinction, hospitals are required to reapply for the designation on a regular basis. This periodic review process confirms that all Blue Distinction Centers, new and old, continue to meet Blue Distinction’s evidence-based quality thresholds, determined in collaboration with the medical community. It also provides an opportunity to improve the overall quality of care, by requiring all Blue Distinction Centers to meet increasingly stringent selection criteria that keep abreast with ongoing advances in clinical practice.

TUH provides a full range of bariatric surgery care services, including inpatient care, post-operative care, outpatient follow-up and patient education.

“The Temple Bariatric Surgery Program offers a growing number of patients the opportunity to reach their weight-loss goals,” said John Meilahn, MD, Director of Bariatric Surgery at TUH. “The Blue Distinction designation recognizes the high-quality care and excellent outcomes achieved at Temple. We are privileged to retain this recognition and look forward to providing an equally high level of care in the future.”

“Blue Distinction promotes the consistent practice of evidence-based medicine,” says I. Steven Udvarhelyi, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Independence Blue Cross. “We are committed to working with doctors and hospitals to identify leading institutions that meet clinically validated quality standards and deliver better overall outcomes in patient care. The Blue Distinction designation identifies institutions that lead the way in delivering quality outcomes.”

TUH met numerous selection criteria thresholds necessary to be named as a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery, including:

  • offering a full-service inpatient hospital facility;
  • being fully accredited by The Joint Commission or Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program;
  • performing a required volume of bariatric surgeries during the recent 12-month reporting period;
  • being staffed by an experienced and appropriately credentialed bariatric surgical team;
  • being supported by appropriate equipment and staffing;
  • establishing documented policies and procedures for patient care and follow-up care;
  • demonstrating a commitment to quality improvement, as shown by its ongoing quality management and improvement programs.

The full list of Blue Distinction selection criteria is available to the public at www.BCBS.com/bluedistinction.

To learn more about the Temple Bariatric Surgery Program, visit bariatric.templehealth.org or call 1-800-836-7576.

Date Published: Monday, August 18, 2008