WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital recognized for higher quality in bariatric surgery

WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital recognized for higher quality in bariatric surgery

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital has been recognized by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia with a Blue Distinction® Centers for Bariatric Surgery designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.

Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities that show a commitment to delivering high quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program provides a full range of bariatric surgery care, including surgical care, post-operative care, outpatient follow-up care, and patient education. 

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S. — with more than 252,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2018 based on a report from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 42.7 percent of U.S. adults and 18.5 percent of youth are obese and are impacted by obesity-related health conditions. With obesity reaching epidemic levels among U.S. adults, a significant opportunity exists to improve quality care for bariatric surgeries within the national healthcare system.

“We are proud to be recognized by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center quality selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program,” Lawrence Tabone, M.D., M.B.A., director of Metabolic and Weight-Loss Surgery at Ruby Memorial, said.

The annual healthcare spend on obesity and obesity-related conditions expected is expected to rise by 2030, if the rate of obesity in the U.S. continues to climb. Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severely obese patients because it allows for substantial, sustained weight loss, which leads to, improves, or resolves obesity-related co-morbidities like type 2 diabetes. 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, based on findings by ASMBS.

To receive a Blue Distinction Centers 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. All designated facilities must also be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels.

“The Blue Distinction program gives Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia members the ability to choose their providers based upon reliable quality and safety information. It also provides a pathway for exceptional providers to demonstrate their value and delivers the kind of transparency necessary for members to make informed value-driven healthcare decisions. We congratulate our Blue Distinction specialty care providers on their accomplishment and thank our members for choosing Highmark BCBS West Virginia,” Dr. Charles DeShazer, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the Highmark Health Plan, said.

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, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, 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.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of designated facilities, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

For more information on Metabolic and Weight-Loss Surgery at WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, click here.

For more information: Angela Jones-Knopf, Corporate Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs, 304-285-7259