Buffalo General Hospital Bariatric Program Nationally Recognized for High-Quality Care in Bariatric Surgery

Released: 8/16/2007

Comprehensive Weight Loss & Bariatric Surgery Program Designated ASBS Center of Excellence



The Comprehensive Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Program at Buffalo General Hospital announced today that it has been named an American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The ASBS Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 66 percent of all U.S. adults are overweight. Morbid obesity, typically defined as being 100 lbs. or more over ideal body weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher, has become a significant national health issue.

According to the National Institute of Health, Bariatric surgery is the only effective therapy for morbid obesity and its complications, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Bariatric surgery, when performed correctly, can help morbidly obese patients manage these conditions with the additional commitment from patients to practice a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise. By definition, surgeons with ASBS Center of Excellence designations practice only top-quality care, ensuring efficacy of the procedure with each patient to the best of their abilities.

A report released in 2007 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality notes the number of bariatric surgeries has grown from 16,000 procedures performed in 1992 to 170,000 performed in 2005. Faced with clinical evidence that the most experienced and best-run bariatric surgery programs have by far the lowest rates of complications, the ASBS Centers of Excellence program was created to recognize bariatric surgery centers that perform well and to help surgeons and hospitals continue to improve the quality and safety of care provided.

Drs. Alan Posner and Lael Forbes were the first in Western New York to offer laparoscopic bariatric surgery, and they remain the only weight-loss surgeons in the region to be fellowship-trained in laparoscopy. Aaron Hoffman, M.D., will be joining the bariatric program at Buffalo General in August 2007. Dr. Hoffman is fellowship trained in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery.

“Due to the increasing prevalence of morbid obesity and the inherent risks associated with it, as well as the opportunities available to greatly improve the health of this patient population, we recognize the need to implement a systematic approach to improving quality,” said Posner. “We believe that the ASBS Centers of Excellence program will serve as a catalyst, driving strong programs to get even better. We have done our part, and we urge our peers to join the effort.”

The most common bariatric procedures performed at Buffalo General include Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (Lap-Band®), which use smaller incisions for less scarring, decreased pain, fewer complications and faster recovery times for patients than the traditional “open surgery” methods. As a comprehensive weight loss program, patients work closely with a highly trained staff of bariatric specialists before surgery, including: an administrative nurse practitioner and bariatric coordinator, clinical nurse practitioner, psychologist, physical therapist, dietician and surgeon. After surgery, patients continue to work with the team and receive long-term follow-up support.

“The Comprehensive Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Program at Buffalo General offers minimally invasive weight loss surgical procedures performed by experienced and highly credentialed bariatric surgeons,” said Forbes. “We are supported by an exceptional team that is committed to providing the highest quality of care for our patients.”

To earn a Center of Excellence designation, The Comprehensive Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Program at Buffalo General Hospital underwent a site inspection during which all aspects of the program’s surgical processes were closely examined and data on health outcomes was collected. The Surgical Review Corporation (SRC), an organization dedicated to pursuing surgical excellence, formulates and establishes the rigorous standards with which The Comprehensive Weight Loss & Bariatric Surgery Program and other Centers of Excellence must comply, thoroughly inspects and evaluates each candidate for designation. Upon review, the SRC recommends approval of designation for those physicians and facilities whose practices and outcomes meet the stringent demands set forth by SRC for ASBS.

“An increasing number of insurance programs require both surgeons and hospitals to be designated as a Bariatric Center of Excellence to qualify for insurance reimbursement,” said Michael Nagowski, Buffalo General Hospital President. “Not only will this designation allow us to provide this important treatment to a larger group of patients, but it will also challenge us to continue the high quality of services we have traditionally provided while ensuring we remain leaders in bariatric surgery.”

About Buffalo General Hospital
Buffalo General Hospital, a Kaleida Health hospital, is a 501-bed acute care medical center located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in downtown Buffalo, NY. A major teaching affiliate of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo General is home to an internationally renowned orthopaedic program, the number one cardiac program with the only Chest Pain Center in WNY, the number one kidney and pancreas transplant program, as well as other successful programs to include: vascular, MRI technology, and inpatient rehabilitation. For more information, go to bgh.kaleidahealth.org.

About American Society for Bariatric Surgery
The American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) is the largest society for this specialty in the world. Founded in 1983, foremost American surgeons have formed the society’s leadership and have established an excellent organization with educational and support programs for surgeons and allied health professionals. The purpose of the society is to advance the art and science of bariatric surgery by continued encouragement of its members to: pursue investigations in both the clinic and the laboratory; interchange ideas, information and experience pertaining to bariatric surgery; promote guidelines for ethical patient selection and care; develop educational programs for physicians, paramedical persons, and lay people; and promote outcome studies and quality assurance. For more information about ASBS, please visit www.asbs.org.
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