Blue Cross of California Designates 'Center of Expertise' Hospitals for Bariatric Surgeries

Health Plan Credentials Hospitals Based on

Cost Effectiveness and Clinical Results



Jul 20, 2005, 01:00 ET from Blue Cross of California

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross of California
 (Blue Cross) today announced the establishment of a "centers of expertise"
 (COE) network for bariatric surgeries.  Selection for the network was based on
 requests for information regarding both cost and quality factors obtained by
 Blue Cross.  Hospitals that submitted data were evaluated against industry
 norms associated with higher quality of care.  Quality of care measures
 included volume, mortality, readmission and complication rates as well as care
 management processes.  These quality factors were combined with a review of
 cost factors relative to patient care for obesity surgery.  Hospitals with the
 best combination of cost and quality results were designated "centers of
 expertise."
     According to Dr. Jeff Kamil, vice president and medical director for Blue
 Cross, "While bariatric surgery can be a safe, effective way to combat the
 serious medical conditions associated with severe obesity, there are
 significant variations in patient outcomes and costs related to the surgery.
 By identifying centers of expertise we can provide our members with easy-to-
 use information about where better health care outcomes are being achieved."
     Published medical studies have demonstrated that hospitals that perform a
 sufficient volume of these procedures and have an objective clinical process
 for selecting appropriate patients have better outcomes and lower mortality
 rates for patients who undergo the procedure.  "Having this surgery has
 changed my life significantly," said Blue Cross member Jonathan Meek.  "I
 worked with my physician and attended pre-operative support groups before
 deciding to have the procedure.  As a result, the process was easy and
 painless but the follow-up care and support has been equally important."
     "Bariatric surgery is the most effective means to treat morbid obesity but
 there are risks," said Andrew Posselt, MD, PhD, bariatric and transplant
 surgeon at UCSF Medical Center, a Blue Cross designated COE.  "We are
 committed to working with our patients and providing them with comprehensive
 pre- and post-operative medical treatment in order to ensure that they receive
 quality care both before and after their surgery."
     Based on National Institutes of Health guidelines, as many as 16 million
 people nationwide may qualify for bariatric surgery.  In California alone,
 bariatric surgical procedures increased 40 percent between 2002 and 2003.
 "Blue Cross wants to work with hospitals to make sure bariatric operations are
 being done efficiently and appropriately," said Dr. Kamil.  "We prefer that
 hospitals continue to volunteer information in order to improve patient
 satisfaction and medical outcomes."
     Sheryl Maddox, another Blue Cross member to benefit from her surgery at
 Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, California, also a designated bariatric COE
 said, "I felt very confident with my Blue Cross physician.  It was a simple
 process for me.  The pre- and post-operative care I received from my doctor
 and the staff at Methodist Hospital was fantastic."
     The following hospitals have been designated as centers of expertise in
 the Blue Cross Bariatric Surgery Network:
 
     UC Davis Medical Center                             Sacramento, CA
     UCSF Medical Center                                 San Francisco, CA
     El Camino Hospital                                  Mountain View, CA
     Shasta Regional Medical Center                      Shasta, CA
     Fresno Surgery Center                               Fresno, CA
     St. Agnes Medical Center                            Fresno, CA
     Clovis Community Hospital                           Clovis, CA
     Huntington Memorial Hospital                        Pasadena, CA
     Methodist Hospital of So. California                Arcadia, CA
     Brotman Medical Center                              Culver City, CA
     Bellflower Medical Center                           Bellflower, CA
     Chapman Medical Center                              Orange, CA
     UCI Medical Center                                  Orange, CA
     Torrance Memorial Medical Center                    Torrance, CA
     Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center  Fountain Valley, CA
     Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center                Fountain Valley, CA
     Pomerado Hospital                                   Poway, CA
     Alvarado Hospital Medical Center                    San Diego, CA
     Scripps Mercy Hospital                              San Diego, CA
 
     Blue Cross of California is one of the state's largest health insurers and
 together with its California affiliate, BC Life & Health, the company serves
 more than 7.6 million medical members.  Headquartered in Southern California,
 Blue Cross of California offers a flexible product portfolio with a broad
 range of options for small, medium and large groups, as well as individual
 plans for people without access to group coverage, seniors and consumers who
 are eligible for state sponsored programs.  Blue Cross of California is an
 independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association and can be found on the web
 at http://www.bluecrossca.com .
 
 

SOURCE Blue Cross of California
    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross of California
 (Blue Cross) today announced the establishment of a "centers of expertise"
 (COE) network for bariatric surgeries.  Selection for the network was based on
 requests for information regarding both cost and quality factors obtained by
 Blue Cross.  Hospitals that submitted data were evaluated against industry
 norms associated with higher quality of care.  Quality of care measures
 included volume, mortality, readmission and complication rates as well as care
 management processes.  These quality factors were combined with a review of
 cost factors relative to patient care for obesity surgery.  Hospitals with the
 best combination of cost and quality results were designated "centers of
 expertise."
     According to Dr. Jeff Kamil, vice president and medical director for Blue
 Cross, "While bariatric surgery can be a safe, effective way to combat the
 serious medical conditions associated with severe obesity, there are
 significant variations in patient outcomes and costs related to the surgery.
 By identifying centers of expertise we can provide our members with easy-to-
 use information about where better health care outcomes are being achieved."
     Published medical studies have demonstrated that hospitals that perform a
 sufficient volume of these procedures and have an objective clinical process
 for selecting appropriate patients have better outcomes and lower mortality
 rates for patients who undergo the procedure.  "Having this surgery has
 changed my life significantly," said Blue Cross member Jonathan Meek.  "I
 worked with my physician and attended pre-operative support groups before
 deciding to have the procedure.  As a result, the process was easy and
 painless but the follow-up care and support has been equally important."
     "Bariatric surgery is the most effective means to treat morbid obesity but
 there are risks," said Andrew Posselt, MD, PhD, bariatric and transplant
 surgeon at UCSF Medical Center, a Blue Cross designated COE.  "We are
 committed to working with our patients and providing them with comprehensive
 pre- and post-operative medical treatment in order to ensure that they receive
 quality care both before and after their surgery."
     Based on National Institutes of Health guidelines, as many as 16 million
 people nationwide may qualify for bariatric surgery.  In California alone,
 bariatric surgical procedures increased 40 percent between 2002 and 2003.
 "Blue Cross wants to work with hospitals to make sure bariatric operations are
 being done efficiently and appropriately," said Dr. Kamil.  "We prefer that
 hospitals continue to volunteer information in order to improve patient
 satisfaction and medical outcomes."
     Sheryl Maddox, another Blue Cross member to benefit from her surgery at
 Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, California, also a designated bariatric COE
 said, "I felt very confident with my Blue Cross physician.  It was a simple
 process for me.  The pre- and post-operative care I received from my doctor
 and the staff at Methodist Hospital was fantastic."
     The following hospitals have been designated as centers of expertise in
 the Blue Cross Bariatric Surgery Network:
 
     UC Davis Medical Center                             Sacramento, CA
     UCSF Medical Center                                 San Francisco, CA
     El Camino Hospital                                  Mountain View, CA
     Shasta Regional Medical Center                      Shasta, CA
     Fresno Surgery Center                               Fresno, CA
     St. Agnes Medical Center                            Fresno, CA
     Clovis Community Hospital                           Clovis, CA
     Huntington Memorial Hospital                        Pasadena, CA
     Methodist Hospital of So. California                Arcadia, CA
     Brotman Medical Center                              Culver City, CA
     Bellflower Medical Center                           Bellflower, CA
     Chapman Medical Center                              Orange, CA
     UCI Medical Center                                  Orange, CA
     Torrance Memorial Medical Center                    Torrance, CA
     Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center  Fountain Valley, CA
     Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center                Fountain Valley, CA
     Pomerado Hospital                                   Poway, CA
     Alvarado Hospital Medical Center                    San Diego, CA
     Scripps Mercy Hospital                              San Diego, CA
 
     Blue Cross of California is one of the state's largest health insurers and
 together with its California affiliate, BC Life & Health, the company serves
 more than 7.6 million medical members.  Headquartered in Southern California,
 Blue Cross of California offers a flexible product portfolio with a broad
 range of options for small, medium and large groups, as well as individual
 plans for people without access to group coverage, seniors and consumers who
 are eligible for state sponsored programs.  Blue Cross of California is an
 independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association and can be found on the web
 at http://www.bluecrossca.com .
 
 SOURCE  Blue Cross of California