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Dignity Health Mercy Hospitals Recognized for Higher Quality in Bariatric Surgery



BAKERSFIELD, CA – April 10, 2018 – Blue Shield of CA has recognized Dignity Health Mercy Hospital with a Blue Distinction® Center for Bariatric Surgery designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care 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 health care 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 health care facility must also be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels.

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. Health care facilities were evaluated as either a comprehensive center or as an ambulatory surgery center.

Mercy Hospitals are proud to be recognized by Blue Shield of CA for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center quality selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. "The Blue Distinction designation represents Mercy Hospitals rigorous commitment to delivering world class care here in the heart of Kern county”, says Walter Ray, vice president of business development for Dignity Health Mercy Hospitals in Bakersfield.

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides significant opportunity to improve quality within the health care 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 health care costs of obesity-related conditions are nearly $210 billion per year in the U.S., according to the Journal of Health Economics. On average, health care 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 health care facilities as Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery. Health care 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 health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other health care facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

For more information about the Dignity Health Mercy Hospitals Bariatric Program, please visit dignityhealth.org/bakersfield/weightloss and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

About Dignity Health Mercy Hospital
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Hospital has a history of caring for our community that goes back more than 100 years. We provide a broad range of medical and surgical services including minimally invasive, robotic, and outpatient options. Our family of services includes the area's only inpatient oncology unit, the Mercy Weight Loss Surgery Program, Orthopedic, Spine, and Hand Center, Family Birth Center, the Lactation Support Center and retail store, and many others. Mercy Hospital Downtown is a 194-bed facility located in downtown Bakersfield. Mercy Hospital Southwest is a 78-bed facility and the only hospital located in the rapidly growing area west of Highway 99. Mercy Hospital is a member of Dignity Health and is a trusted community partner, serving residents of Bakersfield and Kern County with quality, compassionate care since 1910. Learn more at dignityhealth.org/bakersfield and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.




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