Lawrence Memorial Hospital Designated As A Blue Distinction Center For Bariatric Surgery

Obesity is widely recognized as a contributor to serious health risks, According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the total number of bariatric surgeries increased 400 percent from 1998 to 2004. Bariatric Surgery may help some individuals reduce extreme obesity and its associated health risks, and Blue Distinction provides objective information to help them make informed decisions when choosing a provider.

“Blue Distinction puts a high value on research and evidence-based health and medical information,” said Allan Korn, MD, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s chief medical officer. “Blue Distinction Centers show our commitment to working with doctors and hospitals in communities across the country to identify leading institutions that meet clinically validated quality standards and deliver better overall outcomes in patient care.”

“We are thrilled to have our bariatric surgery program recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield,” said Joan Vitello, chief operating officer at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Hallmark Health’s chief nursing officer. “Being named a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery reinforces Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s commitment to quality and patient satisfaction.”

Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford has also been designated a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. With this special designation, the hospital joins an elite group of hospitals in Massachusetts that have been classified as ASBS Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence. In the United States, there are fewer than 250 hospitals designated as ASBS Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford met numerous selection criteria thresholds necessary to be named as Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery, including:

• Offering a full-service inpatient hospital facility.
• Being fully accredited by The Joint Commission or Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program.
• Performing a required volume of bariatric surgeries during the recent 12-month reporting period.
• Being staffed by an experienced and appropriately credentialed bariatric surgical team
• Being supported by appropriate equipment and staffing.
• Establishing documented policies and procedures for patient care and follow-up care.
• Demonstrating a commitment to quality improvement, as demonstrated by its ongoing quality management and improvement programs.

Blue Distinction is a designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in the delivering quality healthcare. The designation is based on rigorous, evidence-based selection criteria established in collaboration with expert physicians’ and medical organizations recommendations. Today, more than 800 Blue Distinction Center designations have been awarded to facilities nationwide, providing consumers with a framework for making informed decisions on where to go fro specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers and transplants.

For more on bariatric surgery and the many other programs and services offered throughout Hallmark Health, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org.

Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose, Hallmark Health Cancer Center, Stoneham, The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham, Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Malden, Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford, and Ell Pond Medical Associates. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.

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