UC Davis Medical Center's bariatric surgery program was designated this month as a Blue Cross of California "Center of Expertise."
The designation is based on an ability to deliver the best combination of quality results and cost for patients who undergo bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery includes a variety of procedures for treating severe obesity, which can be a chronic condition that is difficult to treat through diet and exercise alone.
UC Davis Medical Center is the only hospital in the Sacramento region with the Blue Cross designation and is one of 19 such centers in California.
"We're very pleased to be recognized for our bariatric program," said Mohamed Ali, a gastrointestinal surgeon and assistant professor at UC Davis who has guided the program since 2002. "Our strength is that we've combined a top-flight surgical team with a complete wellness program, providing patients with everything they need to achieve a healthy success, both before and long after the surgery itself."
In the past three years, Ali has performed nearly 500 gastric bypass operations, where the size of a patient's upper stomach is reduced so that less food can be eaten and absorbed. Gastric bypass is the most common and successful surgical approach to severe obesity and is usually reserved for people at least 100 pounds overweight.
The American Society for Bariatric Surgery reports that weight-reduction surgery can reduce heart problems and other risk factors associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, sleep apnea and diabetes. It estimates that bariatric procedures have increased from about 16,000 in the early 1990s to more than 103,000 in 2003.
To be considered for the Blue Cross designation, UC Davis submitted data on its bariatric volumes, mortality, readmission and complication rates, as well as its overall processes for care management. That information was then compared to the industry norms associated with higher quality care.
"This is an operation that literally helps give a person a new lease on life," said Ali, "and that's why so many people need and want it. We've created a comprehensive weight management program that focuses on everything from the surgery to critical follow-up care in important areas such as nutrition, diet and exercise."
For more information about UC Davis Medical Center's bariatric surgery program, visit http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/surgery/divisions/gastro/obesity.shtml.
Copies of all news releases from UC Davis Health System are available on the Web at http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom.