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Saint Joseph East Marks Lands Tenth Consecutive Recognition
for Higher Quality in Bariatric Surgery
Lexington, Ky. (February 5, 2018) – For the tenth year in a row, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky has recognized Saint Joseph East, part of KentuckyOne Health, 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.
“The Blue Distinction designation assures our patients they are getting the quality care they expect,” said Karen Hillenmeyer, PA-C, bariatric program director, Saint Joseph East. “So far, we've performed more than 6,000 weight loss procedures and today’s bariatric patients have even more options available. Our team customizes treatment plans so the procedure is the right fit for the individual.”
Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the United States, providing 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.
It’s estimated that about 36 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). Those numbers are even higher in Kentucky. 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.
“Saint Joseph East’s commitment to quality is commendable and their designation as a Blue Distinction Center is well-earned,” said Kennan Wethington, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky. “The Blue Distinction program is an important part of Anthem’s commitment to helping our members access high-quality, affordable doctors and hospitals here in Kentucky.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield 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 program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.
About Saint Joseph East
Saint Joseph East, part of KentuckyOne Health, is a 217-bed full service community hospital located in the rapidly growing southeastern section of Lexington, KY. It includes the Women’s Hospital, dedicated to the health and well-being of women in central and eastern Kentucky with a 16 bed Level III NICU. Additional specialty services include heart care, breast care, orthopedic care and weight loss surgery.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health, part of Catholic Health Initiatives, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth, and includes hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky is available at www.Anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/askAnthem, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AskAnthem.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
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.
About Blue Distinction Centers
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.