The Surgical Weight Loss Center at the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) has been accredited as a Level 1 facility by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Although the center has been successfully improving the lives and health of patients since 2004 by enabling weight loss, this designation means it has met the essential criteria established by the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program to ensure certain benchmarks are regularly met. This was UCH’s first attempt at accreditation by the ACS BSCN.
The ACS accreditation recognizes the high level of patient care and excellent outcomes provided by our doctors, nurses and staff. The Level 1 designation will also allow UCH to provide this service to a greater number of people. The Center is planning an outreach campaign beyond the Denver metro area including Sante Fe and Albuquerque, N.M., areas that will benefit from more high-quality bariatric surgery options.
“Many insurance plans will only pay for bariatric surgeries at accredited facilities,” said Jonathan Schoen, MD, clinical director for the Surgical Weight Loss Center. “This highest-level designation will open up UCH to a host of new patients who are interested in learning more about weight loss surgery.”
In the United States, more than 11 million people suffer from severe obesity, and the numbers continue to increase. Obesity increases the risks of serious health problems and death because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. At the present time, weight-loss surgery provides the only effective, lasting relief from severe obesity.
Established by the American College of Surgeons in 2005 in an effort to extend established quality improvement practices to all disciplines of surgical care, the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program provides confirmation that a bariatric surgery center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality care for its bariatric surgery patients. Accredited bariatric surgery centers provide not only the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients, but also the support and resources that are necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, from the prehospital phase through the postoperative care and treatment process.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recognized the University of Colorado Hospital and allows expanded Medicare coverage of bariatric surgery for beneficiaries of all ages who have been diagnosed with other health problems associated with obesity. Medicare coverage has been limited to procedures performed in facilities certified by the American College of Surgeons or the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.
To achieve accreditation, each hospital must meet specific criteria and undergo an onsite verification by experienced bariatric surgeons, who review the center’s structure, process, and quality of data using the current ACS Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program Manual as a guideline in conducting the survey. Accredited bariatric surgery centers are also required to report their bariatric surgery outcomes data.
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. Its achievements have placed it at the forefront of American surgery and have made the College an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 77,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.