Willis-Knighton Medical Center Recognized for Quality, Cost-Effective Bariatric Surgery

Mar 11, 2015
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has recognized Willis-Knighton Medical Center as one of the first healthcare facilities in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction® Center+ designation in the area of bariatric surgery by the Blue Distinction® Centers for Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction® Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective measures, which were developed with input from the medical community, for patient safety and better health outcomes. To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, a healthcare facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complications and readmissions, for gastric stapling and/or gastric banding procedures. A healthcare facility must also have earned national accreditations at both the facility level and the bariatric care-specific level, as well as demonstrate better cost efficiency relative to its peers. Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+. Willis-Knighton Medical Center is proud to be recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana for meeting the rigorous selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program. “All involved with this program have worked hard to assure that patients who choose Willis-Knighton for their bariatric surgery will receive care that meets the highest standards,” said Kim Foulk, coordinator of WK Weight & Wellness Services. “This achievement is a validation of that and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to quality care and patient safety. Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides a significant opportunity to improve quality and efficiency within the healthcare system. There were 179,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2013, according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, 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 72 million Americans are obese and 24 million suffer from morbid obesity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The estimated annual healthcare costs of obesity-related illnesses are $190.2 billion, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the U.S., according to the Journal of Health Economics. “More and more, research is showing us that healthcare facilities that provide the highest quality care not only have better health outcomes for their patients, but often keep costs under control, too,” said Dr. David Carmouche, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Executive Vice President for External Operations and Chief Medical Officer. “We are proud to recognize the Blue Distinction Centers+ in Louisiana that are demonstrating high quality and cost efficiency in providing bariatric surgery.” Research shows that facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients compared with their peers. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent or more cost efficient than non-BDC+ designated healthcare facilities. Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants while encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver. For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction. About Willis-Knighton Willis-Knighton Medical Center is the flagship hospital of Willis-Knighton Health System, a not-for-profit community healthcare corporation. In addition to offering bariatric surgery, it is home to the Willis-Knighton Heart & Vascular Institute, the region’s busiest heart program; the Willis-Knighton Cancer Center which features the WK Proton Therapy Center, and the John D. McDonald Regional Transplant Center at Willis-Knighton. These are only a few of the tertiary care services available through Willis-Knighton which are located at Willis-Knighton Medical Center. About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a private, fully taxed nonprofit company, mutually owned by our policyholders—not shareholders. We are an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and are governed by a Louisiana Board of Directors. Blue Cross and our subsidiaries provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to Louisiana residents. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices around the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to improving the lives and health of our customers and of all Louisianians. Learn more on our website at www.bcbsla.com or visit our social media hub to connect via Facebook, Twitter and more. About Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 105 million members—one in three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog for up-to-date information about BCBSA. About Blue Distinction Centers Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on www.bcbs.com. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network status, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. Each facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities 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. Neither Blue Cross Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers