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Buffalo General Medical Center’s Bariatric Program Nationally Recognized for High-Quality Care in Bariatric Surgery

Updated: 11/14/2014

The Center for Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Buffalo General Medical Center (BGMC) announced that it has again been named an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence (ASMBS BSOE). The Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery. In addition to this year, the program received this designation in 2007 and 2011.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 35 percent of all U.S. adults are obese. Morbid obesity typically defined as being 100 pounds or more over ideal body weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher, has become a significant national health issue.

“Kaleida Health recognizes the importance of bariatric surgery to the region, and has made unprecedented investments in support of our program,” said Aaron Hoffman, MD, chief of surgery, Kaleida Health and medical director, Center for Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery. “Given the high rates of obesity and diabetes in Western New York, our Center is committed to providing world-class bariatric care right here in Western New York at the epicenter of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus."

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 ASMBS Center of Excellence designations practice only top-quality care, ensuring efficacy of the procedure with each patient to the best of their abilities.

Faced with clinical evidence that the most experienced and best-run bariatric surgery programs have by far the lowest rates of complications, the 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.

Alan Posner, MD, bariatric surgical director, is pleased about the designation, which reflects the hard work of the entire bariatric program team.

“Success with bariatric surgery requires a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, not only leading up to the operation, but also for life-long follow up. Our entire team is fully committed to the care of our patients, earning us a continued Center of Excellence status."

Posner was one of the first in Western New York to offer laparoscopic bariatric surgery, and is one of the few locally who is fellowship-trained in advanced laparoscopic surgery.

The most common bariatric procedures performed at BGMC include minimally invasive Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, which all 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 practitioners, psychologist, physical therapist, dietician and surgeon. After surgery, patients continue to work with the team and receive long-term follow-up support.

“This recognition is a result of the entire team’s laser focus on providing the highest quality care.” said Cheryl Klass, senior vice president, operations, Kaleida Health and president, BGMC. “They have helped thousands of individual’s live healthier-even longer lives-as a result of bariatric surgery."

To earn a Center of Excellence designation, the Center for Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at BGMC 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 American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence (ASMBS BSCOE) program unified with the American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network (ACS BSCN) accreditation programs in March of 2012 to form the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), which implements standards dedicated to pursuing surgical excellence. This implementation is designed to provide bariatric surgical patients a multidisciplinary, high quality, patient-centered care commitment and establishes the rigorous standards with which the Center for Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery and other Centers of Excellence must comply.